Hong Kong: Asian stocks closed mostly down on Tuesday after crude oil hit a new record, partly on easing fears of a deep US economic downturn.
The bourses in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea ended higher, although the gains were modest. The Japanese stock market was closed for a holiday. Mainland Chinese shares fell 0.73%, while Australia ended 0.5% down.
Sydney ended in the red after the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to leave borrowing costs unchanged at 7.25%.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian central bank hiked rates to 8.25% amid concerns about inflation. Stocks ended 0.7% lower at 2,371.83 in Jakarta.
Experts say inflation continues to be a problem in Asia amid soaring food and fuel costs. The price of crude oil added to those worries, rising to almost $121 (Rs4,924) on Tuesday, after crashing through the $120 mark for the first time on Monday.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index closed up 0.3% at 26,262.13.
“The market remained dull as investors were not willing to take positions due to the absence of fresh trading leads... but select blue chips outperformed and helped the key index return to positive territory,” said Matthew Kwok at Tanrich Securities.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index in Sydney closed down 28.9 points at 5,701.4, while the broader All Ordinaries closed down 19.8 points or 0.3% at 5,777.9.
In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed down 27.51 points at 3,733.50. South Korean shares closed 0.58% higher, with the Kospi index gaining 10.79 points to 1,859.06, while in Singapore, the blue chip Straits Times Index ended 0.71 points higher at 3,248.75.
In Malaysia, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index closed up 1.48 points at 1,276.09, while in Thailand, the Stock Exchange of Thailand composite index gained 2.68 points to close at 845.83.
In the Philippines, share prices closed lower, with the composite index dropping 0.9% to end the day at 2,727.70.