Nikkei 225 and ASX 200 Record Losses with Asian Markets Subdued on Tuesday

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Asian indices were predominantly down by the close of play on Tuesday, with the Nikkei 225 recording a heavy 1.48% loss and the ASX 200 also down in Australia. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng did manage to record a gain however, despite a lack of cues from Wall Street, which sat Monday out due to the Martin Luther King Day national holiday in the U.S. European indices finished almost uniformly down yesterday with negative comments from Donald Trump directed at the E.U., Nato and Germany over the weekend weighing on the mood. The President-elect made statements suggesting a protectionist stance towards E.U., imports into the U.S. Markets are also somewhat nervous today as they wait for the contents of a Theresa May speech on Brexit today, in which she is expected to lay out that Britain will seek a clean break from the EU and not a half in, half out ‘soft Brexit’ solution.

With nerves surrounding the UK, EU and the U.S., safe haven currency the Japanese yen is strengthening this week, which generally spells bad news for the exporter-heavy Nikkei 225. The biggest faller on the Nikkei 225 today was Daiwa House Industry, Japan’s largest home builder, which fell to a loss of 3.82%. Next came Rakuten, who’s B2B2C e-commerce site is among the biggest globally on sales figures, down 3.7%. Fishing and food processing giant Nippon Suisan Kaisha was the third steepest faller today, down 3.35%.

After taking steep losses yesterday as the automobile industry suffered on protectionist comments made by Donald Trump, Japan’s car makers were down again Tuesday. Toyota has slipped by 0.41%, Nissan by 1.04% and Honda sustained a heavy 2.67% fall. Honda’s loss was particularly steep due to news that a Takata Corp. airbag ruptured in one of its cars causing minor injuries to a passenger. Takata will recall over 100 million airbags, the biggest recall in automotive history, after it was revealed that the company had hidden risks in its products for 15 years.

Tuesday’s biggest riser was silicon manufacturer and chemicals company Tokuyama Corporation, which added 2.43%. Next up was electrics and electronics equipment manufacturer, Furukawa Electric, up 2.41% with fibers and textiles play Toyobo 2.25% to the good. Chemicals company Ube Industries, which has been going well of late, recorded another gain today to add 1.5%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 also fell to a loss, losing 0.85% after opening flat. The banking sector again contributed negatively while the big commodities companies, which showed good gains yesterday were in the red on Tuesday. ANZ Banking Group suffered a 1.3% drop, National Australia Bank 1.1% and Westpac and Commonwealth Bank dropped 0.88% each.

In commodities and resources, Rio Tinto fell 0.8% and BHP Billiton a more modest 0.22%. Fortescue Metals took a heavy 3.3% and South32 3.2%.

After Nanosonics, which develops products for infection control in healthcare, saw a big 5.5% gain yesterday on impressive Q4 results, Tuesday resulted in a 4.4% correction. Dental sleep products company Somnomed also lost 4.8%.

The best performing sector on Tuesday was gold miners and Regis Resources gained 5.1% with gains of between 1.5% and 3.2% also for peers Newcrest Mining, EVOLUTION FPO, Northern Star Resources and Independence Group.

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