Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday following the modest gains overnight on Wall Street. Investors are cautious as they look ahead to earnings results from major companies as well as key economic data due later this week for directional cues.
The Australian market is flat following the modest gains on Wall Street and on caution ahead of the release of minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy meeting held earlier in July. Gains by mining stocks were offset by weakness in the financial sector.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 4.00 points or 0.06 percent to 6,657.00, after rising to a high of 6,665.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 5.90 points or 0.09 percent to 6,752.10. Australian stocks closed lower on Monday.
In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is declining more than 1 percent and Oil Search is adding 0.4 percent, while Santos is unchanged after crude oil prices declined overnight.
Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.1 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is edging higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7039, compared to $0.7033 on Monday.
The Japanese market is declining despite the modest gains on Wall Street, as investors returning from a three-day weekend turned cautious as they looked ahead to the release of earnings results from major companies this week. In addition, a stronger yen weighed on exporters' shares.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 79.46 points or 0.37 percent to 21,606.44 after touching a low of 21,572.45 earlier. The Japanese market was closed for the Marine Day holiday on Monday.
The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Sony is losing more than 2 percent, Panasonic is lower by more than 1 percent, Canon is declining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.2 percent.
Among tech stocks, Advantest is lower by 0.2 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.1 percent.
In the auto space, Honda Motor is adding 0.4 percent and Toyota Motor are higher by more than 1 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is losing almost 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.2 percent after crude oil prices ended lower overnight.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 107 yen range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Shanghai, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are all modestly lower, while Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan are edging higher.
On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Monday in choppy trading reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from Citigroup. Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of quarterly results from a slew of other big-name companies.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on Monday. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.5 percent.
Crude oil futures declined on Monday, as concerns about energy demand growth outweighed somewhat positive factory output and retail sales data out of China. WTI crude for August ended down $0.63 or about 1.1 percent at $59.58 a barrel.