CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday amid cautious trades as the record closing highs overnight on Wall Street failed to boost investor sentiment. Meanwhile, crude oil prices eased in early Asian trades after rising overnight.
The Australian market erased early gains and drifted lower as investors turned cautious ahead of the release of mining giant BHP Billiton's earnings results.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 4.50 points or 0.08 percent to 5,535.50, after rising to a high of 5,642.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 4.80 points or 0.09 percent to 5,629.00.
In the mining space, BHP Billiton is adding 0.7 percent ahead of the release of its earnings results, while Rio Tinto is advancing 0.8 percent and Fortescue Metals is higher by more than 1 percent.
In the oil sector, Oil Search is rising 0.3 percent, Woodside Petroleum is up 0.8 percent and Santos is gaining more than 1 percent as crude oil prices rose overnight.
The big four banks are mixed. Commonwealth Bank is rising 0.4 percent and Westpac is adding 0.6 percent, while ANZ Bank is edging down 0.04 percent and National Australia Bank is declining almost 1 percent.
Gold miner Newcrest Mining is down almost 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is adding more than 1 percent.
Mirvac said its full-year profit surged 69 percent on higher revenues and office asset sales. Shares of the real estate group are rising more than 3 percent.
Domino's Pizza Enterprises reported a 29 percent increase in its annual profit and expects profit to further rise another 30 percent in the next fiscal year. However, the company's shares are declining 0.7 percent.
In economic news, members of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy board said that additional stimulus likely would aid the prospects for the country's economic, minutes from the central bank's August 2 revealed on Tuesday. Inflation was below the target range and was expected to remain there for the foreseeable future, giving the bank the means to cut rates.
The total number of new motor vehicle sales in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent on month in July, coming in at 98,062. That follows the upwardly revised 3.5 percent increase in June.
The Japanese market slipped into negative territory after opening higher in thin trading.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 30.41 points or 0.18 percent to 16,839.15, after rising to a high of 16,887.57 in early trades.
The major exporters are higher. Toshiba is gaining more than 1 percent, while Panasonic and Sony are advancing almost 1 percent each, and Canon is edging up 0.02 percent.
Automaker Toyota is adding 0.3 percent and Honda is edging up 0.03 percent.
Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent, while SoftBank is adding 0.2 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by 0.5 percent.
In the oil sector, Inpex is advancing more than 1 percent and JX Holdings is rising almost 2 percent following the increase in crude oil prices.
Among the other major gainers, Showa Denko is gaining almost 6 percent, Dowa Holdings is rising more than 5 percent and Fujitsu is rising almost 4 percent.
On the flip side, Sapporo Holdings is losing more than 4 percent, Dentsu Inc. is down almost 3 percent and Kirin Holdings is lower by more than 2 percent.
On the economic front, Japan will provide July numbers for Tokyo condominium sales today.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the 101 yen-range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia are higher. Shanghai, New Zealand and Taiwan are declining.
On Wall Street, stocks again closed at new record closing highs on Monday as traders have seemed willing to continue putting money in stocks amid indications that the U.S. economy is outperforming. An increase in the price of crude oil may also have generated buying interest.
The Dow rose 59.58 points or 0.3 percent to 18,636.05, the Nasdaq advanced 29.12 points or 0.6 percent to 5,262.02 and the S&P 500 climbed 6.10 points or 0.3 percent to 2,190.15.
The major European markets ended mixed on Monday. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.4 percent.
Crude oil futures rose Monday amid signs that major producers will agree to cut supplies. WTI crude for September delivery jumped up $1.25 or 2.8 percent to settle at $45.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In Asian trades Tuesday, crude oil prices declined 0.6 percent to $45.47.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX