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Asian stocks mixed ahead of US bank "stress tests"

Asian stocks mixed ahead of US bank "stress tests"

Asian markets were mixed Tuesday after the previous day's big rally as investors turned cautious ahead of the U.S. government's "stress tests" for the 19 largest American financial companies later this week.
Global markets surged Monday amid signs of recovery in China, India and the U.S., with several Asian markets soaring more than 5 percent. Wall Street also advanced strongly on news of better-than-expected increases in U.S. home sales and construction spending in March.
But on Tuesday, investors wanted more assurances before bidding up stocks higher and seemed to be looking for chances to pocket recent gains. U.S. stock index futures were lower and oil prices declined.
"After gains the last three days most investors are trying to unload shares," said Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong. "Selling pressure is there. The stress test will be a point for helping investors to decide if the bull market will continue."
Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index flitted in and out of positive territory. By midday, it was up 20.75 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,401.80, after surging 5.5 percent the previous day.
Mainland China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.2 percent lower to 2,555.28 by the lunch break, while India's Sensex was down 0.7 percent after jumping 6.4 percent Monday.
Australia's main index climbed 0.6 percent to 3,904.8 on the back of higher commodities prices, and Singapore's Straits Times index rose 1.3 percent.
Taiwanese stocks continued their advance, with the benchmark up 0.8 percent, after surging more than 12 percent the previous two sessions after the island's government said it would allow mainland Chinese institutional investors to buy into the Taiwanese market. That increased hopes for closer business ties between the two rivals.
Financial markets in Japan, South Korea and Thailand were closed for national holidays. Japan's market will remain closed Wednesday as well.
Wall Street rose strongly Monday after the Commerce Department reported that construction spending rose unexpectedly in March after five straight declines, while the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales rose during the month as buyers took advantage of deeply discounted prices and low interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 2.6 percent to 8,426.74, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index surged 3.4 percent _ erasing its losses for the year. The index is now up 0.4 percent for 2009.
But some analysts worry that renewed anxiety about the health of the financial system could undo those gains if the U.S. bank stress tests _ designed to determine which banks would need more cash if the recession worsens _ show that several banks need more capital.
U.S. stock index futures were down, suggesting Wall Street would retreat Tuesday morning. Dow futures were down 14 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,345, while S&P futures were down 0.3 percent to 900.1.
Oil prices declined modestly, but lingered above $54 a barrel on general optimism about the global economy. Benchmark crude for June delivery was down 46 cents to $54.01 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currencies, the dollar dipped to 98.68 yen from 98.85 late Monday in New York, while the euro fell to $1.3384 from $1.3419.


Updated : 2021-08-05 13:48 GMT+08:00