Asian stocks mixed following modest gains on Wall Street

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Asian shares were mixed Tuesday following modest gains on Wall Street and a contraction of Japanese manufacturing activity in March, the first in 10 months.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 1.3 percent to 16,942.58. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed early gains and was down 0.4 percent at 20,602.05. Australia's S&P ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent at 5,229.00. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.5 percent at 3,005.29. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "There is an uneasy calm that descended on the world's financial markets," IG chief market strategist Chris Weston said. "While volatility has been drastically reduced since February, there are a number of red flags that traders should be looking at. This could be the time for contrarian trading, although price has yet to really respond."

JAPAN MANUFACTURING: Japanese shares gave up some early gains after the release of a preliminary survey showing a deteriorating outlook for manufacturing in March. Contrary to expectations of an improvement, the Nikkei "flash" purchasing managers index fell to 49.1 from 50.1 last month. It was the first dip below the 50 level dividing expectations of expansion versus contraction since April 2015.

WALL STREET GAINS: Major U.S. stock indexes eked out modest gains on Monday, extending the market's winning streak into a fourth day. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 21.57 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,623.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 2.02 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,051.60. The Nasdaq composite gained 13.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,808.87.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 7 cents to $41.45 a barrel in New York. On Monday, it rose 38 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at $41.52 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, shed 8 cents at $41.46. It gained 34 cents on Monday, closing at $41.54 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.93 yen from 112.08. The euro rose to $1.1254 from $1.1242.