CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Tuesday despite the record closing highs overnight on Wall Street as investors await index provider MSCI's decision on whether to include China A-shares in its emerging markets index after rejecting it on three previous occasions.
Meanwhile, Japanese shares rose to hit a near two-year high, while the U.S. dollar strengthened after some hawkish comments from New York Fed President William Dudley.
The Australian market is modestly lower despite the positive cues from Wall Street as weak commodity prices, including crude oil, weighed on resources stocks.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 7.50 points or 0.13 percent to 5,797.70, off a low of 5,773.90. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 5.30 points or 0.09 percent to 5,830.50.
Oil stocks are weak as crude oil prices fell overnight. Woodside Petroleum is losing almost 1 percent, Oil Search is down 1 percent and Santos is lower by more than 1 percent.
Gold miners are also lower after gold prices fell to four-week lows overnight. Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are declining more than 1 percent each.
In the banking space, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is adding 0.2 percent. The Turnbull government's levy to raise A$6 billion from the five largest banks has cleared federal parliament. In addition, Moody's Investor Services downgraded the ratings of Australian banks overnight.
Meanwhile, the major miners are mostly higher after iron ore prices rose slightly. BHP Billiton is adding 0.4 percent and Fortescue Metals is rising 0.5 percent, while Rio Tinto is declining 0.3 percent.
OrotonGroup will receive up to A$3 million credit support from its major shareholder and former director James Vicars, the holder of an 18.2 percent stake, to help turn around its business. Shares of the struggling luxury handbag retailer are gaining more than 6 percent.
Slater and Gordon said it will strongly defend a class action suit brought against it by a shareholder, Babscay. Shares of the lawfirm are higher by more than 7 percent.
Shares of gaming rivals Tabcorp and Tatts Group are in trading halt ahead of the Australian Competition Tribunal's decision on whether to approve the A$11 billion merger of both companies.
On the economic front, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes from its June 6 meeting. At the meeting, the RBA decided to retain its interest rate at a record low of 1.50 percent.
Australia will also see first-quarter figures for house prices today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday as the greenback strengthened following comments from New York Federal Reserve president William Dudley that rising wages would help revive domestic inflation. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7594, down from US$0.7611 on Monday.
The Japanese market is advancing, extending gains from the previous session, following the record closing highs overnight on Wall Street and on a weaker yen. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index hit a 22-month intraday high.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 244.93 points or 1.22 percent to 20,312.68, off a high of 20,314.90 in early trades.
The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is rising more than 2 percent, Sony is up 0.3 percent and Toshiba is adding 0.2 percent, while Canon is lower by 0.2 percent.
Among automakers, Toyota is adding 0.6 percent and Honda is rising 0.3 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are advancing more than 1 percent each.
In the oil space, Inpex is rising more than 1 percent, while XTG Holdings is losing 0.3 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Taiyo Yuden and Suzuki are rising more than 4 percent each, while Minebea Mitsumi is higher by more than 3 percent. Among the worst performers, Haseko Corp. is losing almost 5 percent.
In economic news, Japan will release May figures for nationwide and Tokyo area department store sales today.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 111 yen-range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are also lower, while New Zealand, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher.
On Wall Street, the Dow and the S&P 500 climbed to new record closing highs, with buying interest partly in reaction to strength in the overseas markets that benefited from political news out of Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron's party won a clear parliamentary majority in Sunday's election, while Brexit negotiations with the EU have begun after Britain bowed to pressure for a formal opening to their long-awaited negotiations.
The Dow climbed 144.71 points or 0.7 percent to 21,528.99, the Nasdaq surged up 87.25 points or 1.4 percent to 6,239.01 and the S&P 500 advanced 20.31 points or 0.8 percent to 2,453.46.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on Monday. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures fell Monday as the dollar strengthened on expectations the Federal Reserve will again raise interest rates in the next few months. WTI crude oil slipped $0.58 to close at $44.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX