Asia Markets: Asian markets little modified as buyers await earnings stories


Asian shares were little changed and mixed in quiet trading Tuesday amid a lack of fresh market-moving news as investors looked ahead to earnings season and Wall Street again closed at record highs.

On the trade front, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday that he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer may travel to China soon for renewed trade negotiations if phone talks with Chinese officials this week are successful, Bloomberg News reported.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday released minutes of their July meeting, which indicated a willingness to cut interest rates — which are already at historic lows — further if necessary. “Members judged that a further reduction in the level of interest rates would support the necessary growth in employment and incomes, and promote stronger overall economic conditions, which would in turn support a gradual increase in underlying inflation,” the RBA said in its minutes.

Japan’s Nikkei












NIK, -0.74%










  fell 0.7%, as traders returned from a holiday Monday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index












HSI, +0.03%










  edged down 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite












SHCOMP, -0.25%










  slipped 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi












180721, +0.08%










  was about flat, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan












Y9999, +0.04%










 , Singapore












STI, +0.33%










  and Indonesia












JAKIDX, -0.34%










  were little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200












XJO, +0.08%










  was about flat.

Among individual stocks, Casio Computer












6952, -4.18%










  slid in Tokyo trading. Sony












6758, -2.48%










  and SoftBank












9984, -1.22%










  also declined. In Hong Kong, Sands China












1928, +2.60%










  rose, while CNOOC












883, -1.78%










  and AIA Group












1299, -0.64%










  slipped. SK Hynix












000660, -1.18%










  fell in South Korea while Foxconn












2354, +1.51%










  rose in Taiwan. In Australia, Oil Search












OSH, -1.91%










  dropped after lowering its annual production target, and Rio Tinto












RIO, +0.60%










  rose after it said a Mongolian copper mine would take longer and cost more than expected.

Wall Street had a wobbly day of trading with gains that were enough to nudge them further into record territory.

The S&P 500












SPX, +0.02%










  rose 0.53 points, or less than 0.1%, to 3,014.30 after drifting between a gain of 0.1% and a loss of 0.2% earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average












DJIA, +0.10%










  gained 27.13, or 0.1%, to 27,359.16, and the Nasdaq composite












COMP, +0.17%










  added 14.04, or 0.2%, to 8,258.19.

U.S. stocks have jumped since early June on increasing expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to help the economy, and investors are virtually certain that it will happen at the next Fed meeting at the end of this month. The only question, investors say, is how deeply the Fed will cut when it lowers rates for the first time in a decade.

Until then, the main drivers for the market will likely be the hundreds of earnings reports scheduled to come from big companies, showing how much profit they made from April through June.

“The lack of impetus for Asia markets have kept prices trading in a lackluster fashion this morning,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist for IG in Singapore.

Several economic reports are also on the schedule this week, including updates on retail sales, the housing industry and shoppers’ confidence. The U.S. economy has generally remained solid, but investors don’t expect this week’s reports to alter the direction of the Fed, which has already given hints about rate cuts given weakening economic trends around the world.

The White House’s repeated threats to raise tariffs has made companies at home more hesitant and hurt trade internationally. They’re a big reason China on Monday reported its weakest quarter of economic growth in at least 27 years.

Benchmark U.S. crude












CLQ19, +0.02%










  slipped 15 cents to $59.43 a barrel. It fell 63 cents to settle at $59.58 per barrel Monday. Brent crude












BRNU19, +0.17%










 , the international standard, lost 15 cents to $66.33 a barrel.

The dollar












USDJPY, +0.03%










  inched up to 107.94 Japanese yen from 107.81 late Monday.



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