By Dow Jones Newswire
Domestic stocks get a boost in Japan, handing Nikkei a gain
Asian stock markets largely fell Tuesday, with the downdraft pushing Hong Kong into a bear market.
The region mostly slumped, with only Japan breaking the pattern, even after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq snapped a four-session losing streak and the White House announced a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in the works.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.7% at 26,422. Bear territory was hit with the index now down more than 20% from its closing high in January. It has dropped roughly 15% over just the past three months.
The benchmark may stay below 27,000 for a while amid a weak yuan and Hong Kong dollar and because of trade worries, said KGI Securities, also pointing to lingering fears over the trade war.
Tencent was off another 1.7% as a Chinese online-poker game will be shut in two weeks. Gambling stocks were a significant drag on the broader market as Macau casinos operators continued to build on weakness, with Galaxy down more than 5%. Sands China fell 3.7%. Shares of the two companies have declined by more than 15% so far in September, making them among the biggest decliners in the Hang Seng Index. Insurer AIA bounced from Monday's seven-month closing low, up 0.2%.
In mainland markets, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite recovered from a mostly negative session to close up 0.1%.
Japanese stocks were one of the few standouts in the region, as the Nikkei gained over 1%, with domestic-demand sectors like pharma, food and cosmetics leading the way. That came as concerns eased about impacts from last week's typhoon and earthquake. But trade uncertainty also helped those sectors. Drug maker Daiichi Sankyo was up 4.3%, with beverage firm Kirin Holdings up 2.7% and cosmetics producer Shiseido up around 2.1%. Meanwhile, Yahoo Japan was down 2% as major stakeholder Altaba announced plans to sell.
Korea's Kospi sank slightly, with chip firms Samsung and SK Hynix showing mixed results. In Taiwan, the Taiex dipped initially but recovered with a 0.2% gain, although Apple supplier Foxconn gained.
Australia's ASX 200 , which had been mired in its longest skid since January 2016, rebounded with a 0.6% gain. Banks led the gains, as Moody's said a combination of slowing credit growth and strong economic gains will ease risks associated with high household debts and underpin asset quality. After losses in seven of the past eight sessions, New Zealand's benchmark jumped nearly 2%, led by A2 Milk and Ryman Healthcare .
Trading at 18-month lows, Singapore's Straits Times Index dropped another 0.4%. Markets in neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for holidays.