Mar 16, 2017 04:26 PM IST | Source: CNBC

Asia markets mixed; Toshiba falls 6% as it delays earnings filing

China's Shanghai composite added 0.11 percent while the Shenzhen composite gained 0.15 percent.

Asia traded sideways on Tuesday, following Wall Street's mixed close as the Federal Reserve's kicks off its two-day meeting.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.15 percent.

Toshiba plunged 6.1 percent by 9:40 am HK/SIN after the company announced it would postpone earnings filings again due to the need for more time with auditors to review its US nuclear subsidiary probe, Reuters reported. The Japanese conglomerate will hold a news conference later at 3pm HK/SIN.

The Australian benchmark ASX 200 wavered for most of the morning, up 0.08 percent, supported by strengths in its energy sub-index, which was up 1.21 percent, and its materials sub-index, which was up 0.99 percent.

National Australia Bank's monthly business survey of more than 400 firms showed that the index of business conditions fell 7 points to +9 in February. All sectors except retail reported improved conditions last month.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.41 percent, even as the country remains engulfed in political uncertainty after the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye last Friday.

Hyundai Engineering signed a deal with an Iranian investment fund on Sunday for a 3.2 billion euro (USD 3.2 billion) petrochemical project, which is awaiting financing by Korean banks, Reuters reported. Shares of Hyundai Engineering were up 0.52 percent.

China's Shanghai composite added 0.11 percent while the Shenzhen composite gained 0.15 percent.

Goldman Sachs upgraded China's stocks to "overweight" on Monday, saying that the increasing producer price index will translate to better corporate revenues and easing credit stress in the short-term. The investment bank also added that Chinese banks had brighter credit outlook and loan pricing.

Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.32 percent.

Traders are likely to focus on the Federal Open Market Committee's upcoming decision on whether to raise interest rates, looking for clues on how quickly the US central bank is planning to tighten monetary policy.

"Solid Us employment growth of 235,000 in February, a fall in unemployment and a slight rise in wages growth keep the Fed on track to raise interest rates again this coming Wednesday," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, in a weekly note.

"However, with US monetary policy a long way from being tight, future rate hikes likely to be gradual and US economic data likely to be solid we don't see it derailing the bull market in shares," Oliver said.

Market expectation for a tighter US monetary policy is at 95.2 percent, according to CME Group's FedWatch Tool at 7am HK/SIN.

On the economic data calendar, China will release its fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales and Australia will release its NAB Business Confidence survey.

In the broader currency market, the greenback traded at 101.41 against a basket of currencies, above levels around 101.2 seen yesterday. At 8:12 am HK/SIN, the yen was weaker against the dollar at 114.92, while the Australian dollar was at USD 0.7565.

Oil prices continued to fall from three-month lows on Tuesday Asian time. Brent crude futures lost 0.12 percent to USD 51.29 a barrel, while US crude fell 0.14 percent to USD 48.33.

Stateside, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.1 percent to close at 20,881.48. The S&P 500 index inched up 0.04 percent to close at 2,373.47 and the Nasdaq added 0.24 percent to finish at 5,875.78.
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