June 20, 2016 - 7:20 PM EDT
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Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday following Monday's global rally. Investors are treading cautiously as Thursday's referendum on Brexit still seems like it could go either way. Crude oil prices slipped in Asian trades after rising almost three percent overnight.

The Australian market is modestly higher, following the overnight gains on Wall Street.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 7.40 points or 0.14 percent to 5,264.20, off a high of 5264.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 4.60 points or 0.09 percent to 5,340.20.

In the mining sector, BHP Billiton is adding 0.4 percent and Rio Tinto is rising 0.3 percent, while Fortescue Metals is declining more than 1 percent. BHP Billiton said it is bullish about its coal operations despite the commodity's current low price.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.09 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent.

The big four banks - ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank - are higher in a range of 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent.

Suncorp Group's chief risk and legal officer Anna Lenahan has resigned to become Commonwealth Bank's group general counsel. However, shares of Suncorp are advancing 0.5 percent.

In the oil space, Santos is down 0.2 percent, Oil Search is declining 0.6 percent and Woodside Petroleum is losing more than 1 percent despite the surge in crude oil prices overnight.

China's Nanshan Group has completed its acquisition of a 19.9 percent stake in Virgin Australia from Air New Zealand. Shares of Virgin Australia are unchanged.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release today the minutes from its June 7 meeting, in which it kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged at the record low 1.75 percent.

Australia also will see first-quarter data for house prices later today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on increased risk appetite as Brexit fears eased. In early trades Tuesday, the local unit was trading at US$0.7457, up from US$0.7436 on Monday.

The Japanese market pared initial losses and is marginally lower, with a stronger safe-haven yen dampening investor sentiment.

n late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 11.18 points or 0.07 percent to 15,954.12, off a low of 15,770.96 earlier.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Panasonic is adding 0.4 percent and Canon is up 0.6 percent and Sony is rising 0.6 percent, while Sharp is losing 0.8 percent. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is declining 0.8 percent.

Automaker Toyota is losing 0.8 percent and Honda is lower by almost 1 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down 0.8 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is declining 0.3 percent, while JX Holdings is adding more than 1 percent following the surge in crude oil prices.

Among the other major gainers, Daiichi Sankyo is gaining almost 7 percent on its decision to buy back up to 28 million shares and Nippon Sheet Glass is rising more than 2 percent.

Meanwhile, Japan Steel Works is losing almost 7 percent after a rating downgrade, JTEKT Corp. is down almost 4 percent and Showa Denko is lower by more than 3 percent.

On the economic front, members of the Bank of Japan's monetary policy board said that the country's overall economic recovery was unaffected by recent weak data, minutes from the bank's April 27 and 28 meeting revealed on Tuesday.

The members also felt that Japan faced several downside risks - not the least of which came from overseas economies.

Japan will also see April figures for its all industry activity index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 103 yen-range on Tuesday, down from the mid 104-yen range at close on Monday in Tokyo.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Taiwan are up with modest gains. South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia are edging lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed in positive territory on Monday, but well off their best levels, amid easing concerns about Thursday's referendum on whether Britain will remain in the European Union.

The Dow climbed 129.71 points or 0.7 percent to 17,804.87, the Nasdaq advanced 36.88 points or 0.8 percent to 4,837.21 and the S&P 500 rose 12.03 points or 0.6 percent to 2,083.25.

The major European markets moved substantially higher on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index spiked by 3 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index soared by 3.4 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures surged higher Monday, helped by demand hopes and a weaker U.S. dollar. July WTI oil settled at $49.37 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up $1.39, or 2.9 percent.

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Source: Equities.com News (June 20, 2016 - 7:20 PM EDT)

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