Japan Leaps as Rest of Asia Pauses

Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday, with several indexes giving up early gains as mainland China stocks finished the day in negative territory. Meanwhile, the dollar slipped ahead of a congressional testimony from the new U.S. Federal Reserve chair.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 236.23 points, or 1.1%, to close at 22,389.86. In Japan, the technology, financials and manufacturing sectors finished the session in positive territory.

Among index heavyweights, SoftBank Group advanced 0.7%, Fanuc Manufacturing gained 1.8% and Fast Retailing added 0.8% by the end of the day. Automakers also traded higher, with Honda Motor climbing 2%.

Against the yen, the U.S. dollar was a touch softer at 106.82.

The Hang Seng Index slid 229.94 points, or 0.7%, to 31,268.66

The financials sector pared slight gains seen earlier to trade below the the flat line: China Construction Bank declined 1.1% and HSBC lost 1.1% an hour before the market close.

Despite the broader decline, insurer AIA Group rose 3.9% ahead of the market close after announcing that the value of new business for the period ending Nov. 30 rose 28% to $3.51 billion U.S. The metric measures expected profit from new premiums.

Meanwhile, shares of Standard Chartered were up 0.6% after the bank said underlying pre-tax profit rose to $3.01 billion U.S., above the $2.978 billion average projected by experts.

In Korea, index heavyweight Samsung Electronics, which had risen by more than 1% following the strong showing from tech stocks stateside in the last session, finished the session flat. Chipmaker SK Hynix closed higher by 1.6%

Meanwhile, the won traded at 1,070.49 to the dollar. The currency had earlier traded as high as 1,067.80 won to the dollar after the Bank of Korea announced Tuesday that it would hold interest rates steady at 1.5%.

In Australia, the financials and materials sub-indexes contributed to gains on the broader index.

Australia's "Big Four" banks were in the green, with National Australia Bank tacking on 0.8% and ANZ closing higher by 0.9%. Mining majors Rio Tinto and BHP finished the session up 1.3% and 0.8%, respectively.


The CSI 300 lost 59.44 points, or 1.4%, to 4,058.98, with the materials, financials and energy sectors recording losses of more than 2%.

Major Chinese banks saw losses of more than 1%, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China closing down 3.4%.

The ChiNext start-up board, however, rose 1%, extending gains of more than 3% seen on Monday.

Mainland China markets had shone in the previous session as investors digested weekend news about the proposal to remove a two-term limit on the presidency.

In other markets

The Kospi in Korea sagged 1.51 points, or 0.1%, to 2,456.14

In Taiwan, the Taiex index gave back 21.23 points, or 0.2%, to 10,815.47

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 15.46 points, or 0.4%, to 3,540.39

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 19.85 points, or 0.2%, to 8,360.38

The ASX 200 added 14.68 points, or 0.2%, to 6,056.86