Asian indexes lower as geopolitical tensions weigh; FOMC speakers in focus

Asian stock indexes ended mostly lower on Tuesday, following a mixed dynamic from Wall Street, as market participants struggled for direction in the light of an empty economic calendar.

 

<<< Data by 07:05 GMT >>>

 

Australia ASX S&P                -3.70               -0.06%            6,066.70

Shanghai Composite             +6.93              +0.21%           3,329.16

Hong KOng Hang Seng         -159.88           -0.54%            29,526.31

Japan Nikkei 225                   -9.75               -0.04%            22,486.24

Taiwan TSEC 50 Index          -43.86             -0.41%            10,707.07

 

The Dow Jones industrial average added 22.79 points to end at 23,580.78 points. The S&P 500 dropped 0.04 percent to 2,601.42 and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.15 percent at 6,878.52.

 

American retailers traded mainly higher on Monday as market participants speculated on strong sales during the holiday season after a solid Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

 

The SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund was up 0.3 percent on Monday. Traditional retailers like Macy's, Kohl's and Gap were up in the session. E-commerce giant Amazon posted a 0.8 percent gain as Black Friday sales allegedly increased 17 percent from the previous year.

 

US new home sales scaled to their highest level in nearly 10 years in October, adding 6.2 percent to an annualized rate of 685,000 units. Analysts expected a 6 percent drop.

 

Overnight, reports suggested Pyongyang is preparing to launch a missile during its army’s winter training, putting pressure on sentiment and boosting demand for safe havens.

 

“There is a possibility of missiles launches in the next few days,” a top Japanese diplomat said on Monday cited according to Kyodo news agency.

 

The Senate Banking Committee will conduct on Tuesday a hearing to confirm Federal Reserve member Jerome Powell as the next Chair of the US regulator. Powell will speak at 14:45 GMT.

 

New York Fed President William Dudley is set to talk at 14:15 GMT, followed by Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker at 15:15 GMT. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled for a press conference at the New York Fed at 20:45 GMT.

 

Ahead in the day, traders keep an eye on Germany’s GfK consumer climate for Dec at 12:00 GMT. US goods trade balance for Oct is set for release at 13:30 GMT, with a $65 billion deficit eyed. The Conference Board will unveil its consumer confidence indicator for Nov at 15:00 GMT.

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