HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday following a muted lead from Wall Street, while Tokyo slipped on profit-taking as the yen regained some of the previous day's losses against the dollar.
Brent crude oil held up after rebounding in New York on Monday from a slump in Asian trade earlier in the day fuelled by Iran's nuclear deal.
Tokyo eased 0.67 per cent, or 103.89 points to 15,515.24, Sydney ended flat, edging up 4.2 points to 5,357.0, and Seoul added 0.33 per cent, or 6.66 points, to close at 2,022.64. In the afternoon Hong Kong was 0.11 per cent higher, while Shanghai dipped 0.10 per cent.
Japan's Nikkei retreated after closing Monday at a six-month high thanks to the yen's fall against the dollar.
The greenback climbed as high as 101.92 yen on Monday in Asia – its highest since May – before retreating in New York to end at 101.51 yen.
“The dollar's levels are key to predicting the Nikkei, but even the smallest pause in the yen-weakening trend we've seen will invite profit-taking after the Nikkei's recent run-up,” Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
In Asia on Tuesday the dollar fetched 101.54 yen. In other currency trading the euro bought $1.3529 compared with $1.3524, while it was also at 137.38 yen from 137.28 yen.
US shares ended little changed Monday after the Dow and S&P 500 breached key milestones last week.
The Dow – which broke 16,000 for the first time Thursday – ended up 0.05 per cent at another record, while the S&P 500 dipped 0.13 per cent but remained above the 1,800 level it passed on Friday.
The Nasdaq inched up 0.07 per cent to 3,994.57 but was unable to hold its intraday levels above 4,000, which it hit for the first time since the 2000 dotcom bust.
On oil markets, Brent North Sea crude for January was 21 cents down at $110.79.
However, prices had sunk about two per cent to levels around $108.50 in Asia Monday in response to Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. The contract bounced back in New York trade later in the day.
Iran on Sunday agreed to curb its nuclear programme for the next six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
The move raised fears of a supply glut but those were later eased as it emerged that most sanctions remain in place.
“The initial knee-jerk sell off came with the easing of the build-up in geopolitical risk premium,” Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said in a note.
“Nonetheless, the decline was short-lived as traders understood that the deal will not see a glut of oil supply.”
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, was up 31 cents at $94.40 on Tuesday in Asia.
Gold fetched $1,252.70 per ounce at 0635 GMT compared with $1,231.50 on Monday.
In other markets: – Taipei rose 0.74 per cent, or 60.51 points, to 8,248.02. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co climbed 2.48 per cent to Tw$103.5 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.53 per cent higher at Tw$75.5.
– Wellington gave up 0.48 per cent, or 23.13 points, to end at 4,790.75. Fletcher Building fell 1.4 per cent to NZ$9.19 and Telecom ended down 1.8 per cent at NZ$2.25. But Ryman Healthcare rose 1.3 per cent to NZ$7.60 and Air New Zealand was up 2.53 per cent at NZ$1.62.