Asian stocks fall as China rate cut effect fades and investors await OPEC, US data

SEOUL, South Korea – Asian stocks mostly fell Tuesday as the boost from China’s surprise interest rate cuts faded and investors awaited U.S. economic data and an OPEC meeting.

KEEPING SCORE: Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7 per cent to 5,325.4 and South Korea’s Kospi inched down 0.1 per cent to 1,975.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.1 per cent at 23,866.60. Most Southeast Asian stock markets were lower but Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 0.2 per cent higher at 17,393.35.

CHINA EFFECT: Asian stocks climbed Monday when they had their first opportunity to react to China’s announcement late Friday of interest rate cuts. The perception of concerted efforts by central banks to support economic growth was also reinforced by the European Central Bank. Its President Mario Draghi’s said he was willing to step up the bank’s efforts to stimulate the region’s struggling economy.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “U.S. markets edged higher overnight, extending record levels, but there was little new in the way of catalysts, said Will Leys, a sales trader at CMC Markets. “Global sentiment remains mildly positive on the back of last week’s stimulus double play out of China and Europe.”

OPEC MEETING: The major event this week is a meeting of members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna on Thursday as the price of oil continues to slump. Traders will be looking for a possible agreement to cut production to shore up prices. The price of crude has tumbled 26 per cent since June as producers kept output stable while demand in Europe and other markets weakened.

ECONOMY REPORTS: The U.S. Commerce Department is scheduled to release its second of three estimates of how fast the U.S. economy grew in the July-September quarter. The first estimate showed that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent, outpacing most other developed countries. Some analysts believed the estimate will be slightly lowered. Germany, the largest economy in the euro common currency area, will likely confirm its growth figure at 0.1 per cent growth from the previous quarter.

WALL STREET: The stock market eked out another record close Monday as investors remained confident that stimulus from central banks would revive global growth. Retail stocks rose ahead of the crucial holiday season. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.3 per cent to 2,069.41. The Dow Jones industrial average inched up less than 0.1 per cent to 17,817.90. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.9 per cent to 4,754.89.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 2 cents to $75.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 73 cents to settle at $75.78 on Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 9 cents to $79.59 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 117.94 yen from 118.28 yen late Monday. The euro was little changed at $1.242 from $1.243.