Asian markets have been mixed, with Wall Street providing a strong lead after rebounding from a two-day sell-off thanks to better-than-expected retail sales data.
Hong Kong and Shanghai were the main losers ahead of the release Wednesday of Chinese growth figures that are forecast to show a further slowdown in the economic giant.
Tokyo rose 0.62 per cent, or 86.65 points, to finish at 13,996.81 on Tuesday and Sydney closed up 0.55 per cent, or 29.3 points, at 5,388.2 while Seoul eased 0.24 per cent, or 4.75 points, to 1,992.27.
Shanghai lost 1.40 per cent, or 29.94 points, to 2,101.60 while Hong Kong tumbled 1.60 per cent, or 367.54 points, to 22,671.26.
New York provided a positive lead Monday after the three main indexes last week suffered heavy losses as concerns that tech plays could be overvalued spread to other shares.
The US gains came after the government reported that US retail sales jumped 1.1 per cent in March, better than expected. Adding to the buying sentiment was a forecast-busting earnings report from banking giant Citi.
The Dow rallied 0.91 per cent and the S&P 500 gained 0.82 per cent, while the Nasdaq, which lost more than three per cent last week, added 0.57 per cent.
However, despite the pick-up, analysts said a sustained rebound would be tough.
“Energy in the market has dwindled, as traders are having a hard time finding decent catalysts,” Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
“Sell pressure has lessened compared to last week, but renewed buying pressure may take some time to gather momentum.”
In currency exchange trade the dollar rose to 101.84 yen Tuesday, from 101.82 yen late in New York and 101.55 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.
The euro fetched $1.3801 and 140.53 yen compared with $1.3820 and 140.74 yen.
In Asia this week, focus will turn to the release Wednesday of Chinese gross domestic product figures for the first quarter of the year.
A survey of 13 economists saw a median forecast of 7.3 per cent growth in the period, which would mark the fourth slowdown in the past five quarters, putting China on track for its worst annual performance since 1990.
The results come at a time of increasing worries about China’s economy, a key driver of global growth, following a series of weak data including on manufacturing and trade.
Markets are also keeping a wary eye on Ukraine as the crisis with Russia heats up again.
In the latest development US President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin clashed in a phone call over pro-Kremlin separatists in Ukraine, who the White House says are being supported by Moscow.
Fears are growing that Russia is planning to send troops in to eastern Ukraine, in a move similar to that which saw it take over Crimea last month.
The Obama administration consulted European allies and hinted that tougher sanctions targeting Russia’s economy could be looming, warning that Moscow was becoming more and more isolated.
Oil prices eased. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, dropped 89 US cents to $US103.16 in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for May fell 32 US cents to $US108.75 a barrel.
Gold fetched $US1,311.35 an ounce at 0800 GMT, from $US1,323.11 late Friday.
In other markets:
– Taipei rose 0.67 per cent, or 59.29 points, to 8,916.71.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co closed 1.66 per cent higher at $Tw122.5 while Hon Hai Precision added 0.69 per cent to $Tw87.2.
– Wellington added 0.25 per cent, or 12.75 points, to 5,076.29.
Air New Zealand was up 0.49 per cent at $NZ2.06 and Warehouse Group added 0.94 per cent to $NZ3.23.
– Manila added 0.49 per cent, or 32.11 points, to 6,621.66.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone rose 0.58 per cent to 2,760 pesos and SM Prime Holdings added 1.18 per cent to 15.48 pesos.
– Bangkok was closed for a public holiday.