HONG KONG -- Asian markets continued to trade in uncertain territory on Tuesday, as major indices reversed early trading patterns in the afternoon session to end mixed.
After beginning the day in the green, China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 7 points, or 0.1%, to 5386, while the Hang Seng followed, losing 67 points, or 0.25%, to end at 27,112. India also fell slightly from a strong start in the morning, dipping 29 points, or 0.14%, to 20,783, giving away an all-time high reached Monday.
Japan's Nikkei hit an 18-month low intraday, but it overcame losses and finished up 28 points, or 0.2%, at 14,528, halting a two-session, 5.3% selloff. The yen eased slightly against the dollar to 109.64 from 109.44 previously.
"There are two opposing forces tugging at the market right now: the Chinese market and what's happening in the U.S.," says Pauline Dan, who runs $2.5 billion at MFC Global Investment Management in Hong Kong. "It's a very stock-specific market, and there is increasing volatility because of these two forces."Volume on the Hang Seng was up slightly, at HK$114.9 billion, or $14.6 billion. Leading the end-of-day declines were property stocks, which succumbed to profit-taking after heavy speculation locally that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by 50 basis points this month. Conglomerates Hutchison (HUWHY) and Swire Pacific (SWRAY) fell the most, by 3.3% to HK$88.10 and by 3% to HK$108.40, respectively. Cheung Kong (CHEUY) followed, slipping 3% to HK$142.6. Hang Lung Properties (HLPPY) slid 2.8% to HK$33.20.