By Daniel Inman
Asian markets traded mostly lower Tuesday ahead of Chinese data due out later in the session, with Japanese shares falling as the yen’s downward momentum slowed.
Most of Asia shrugged off a positive overnight lead from the U.S. Shares in Japan and South Korea slipped after strong gains the previous session.
Trading was marked by caution after a string of speeches by three Federal Reserve presidents suggested that the U.S. central bank could start to scale back its $85-billion-a-month stimulus program as early as this month. A Fed policy meeting is due to take place next week.
The region was also waiting for a flurry of economic data to come out of Asia’s largest economy, with China scheduled to release November figures such as industrial output and retail sales. This will come just after the country posted its largest trade surplus for nearly five years.
Chinese stocks were mixed ahead of the data. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.32% added 0.2%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.46% slipped 0.1%.
Japan’s Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.89% fell 0.2%, as investors shrugged off a weakening yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.0647% , after a sharp 2.3% jump Monday. The dollar gained 0.4% against its Japanese counterpart Monday and stabilized Tuesday to ¥103.27, within striking distance of the 2013 high of ¥103.74.
Shares of Japanese real-estate companies managed to move higher in Tokyo, with Mitsui Fudosan /zigman2/quotes/205394574/delayed JP:8801 -0.83% /zigman2/quotes/208297288/delayed MTSFF +8.74% up 1.5%, and Mitsubishi Estate Co. /zigman2/quotes/208910776/delayed JP:8802 -0.14% /zigman2/quotes/208166463/delayed MITEF -0.08% up 2.2%. Local exporters, however, were lower: Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 -0.07% /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC +0.11% lost 0.7%, and Kyocera Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204880749/delayed JP:6971 +0.45% /zigman2/quotes/205094593/delayed KYOCF +0.75% fell 0.2%
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“Amid uncertainties surrounding a pullback of the Federal Reserve’s monetary easing, investors are hesitant to pursue exporters. Their domestic-demand-driven shares are generating interest,” said Shun Maruyama, chief equity strategist at BNP Paribas.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.07% fell 0.4%, Singapore’s Straits Times Index /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.53% lost 0.3%, and the Philippines PSE Composite /zigman2/quotes/210597949/delayed PH:PSEI +1.01% dropped 1.2%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.43% rose 0.1%, paring earlier gains, as Sydney bounced back from a Monday selloff after a profit warning from QBE Insurance /zigman2/quotes/207050271/delayed AU:QBE -0.20% /zigman2/quotes/201857553/delayed QBEIF +0.65% that surprised the market and hit broader sentiment. The insurer fell another 11.3% Tuesday, but a number of banks helped support the market. National Australia Bank /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB +0.11% /zigman2/quotes/205253475/delayed NAUBF +0.50% rose 0.6% and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group /zigman2/quotes/205482049/delayed AU:ANZ +0.41% /zigman2/quotes/204542251/delayed ANEWF +2.67% added 0.5%.
Yumi Otagaki contributed to this article.