Stocks down in Australia amid fresh rate hikes

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region exhibited a mixed trading performance on Tuesday, diverging from the movements on Wall Street. The S&P 500 had initially reached its highest intraday level in nine months but later erased its gains. Analysts noted that markets were taking a breather following Friday’s broad-based rally, and described the day as lacking significant news. They viewed the consolidation of recent gains as a positive development.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 experienced a decline of 1.2% to close at 7,129.6. This came after the country’s central bank surprised the markets by raising its cash rate by 25 basis points to 4.1%. The Australian dollar strengthened against the US dollar by 0.8% to 0.6669.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 continued its ascent above the 32,000 mark, gaining 0.9% to finish at 32,506.78. The broader Topix index also rose, closing up 0.74% at 2,236.28. It is worth noting that the last time the Nikkei traded at these levels was during Japan’s bubble economy period, characterized by inflated real estate and stock prices, which lasted from 1986 to 1991.

South Korea’s markets were closed on Tuesday due to a public holiday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index declined by 0.18% in the final trading hour, mainly due to weakness in industrial stocks. Mainland Chinese markets also experienced losses, with the Shanghai Composite falling 1.15% to close at 3,195.34, its lowest level since January 13. The Shenzhen Component index dropped 1.58% to end at 10,773.45, marking its lowest level in over seven months.

In the United States, the S&P 500 registered a 0.2% loss, while the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.09%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 0.59%. Tech giant Apple saw a retreat of about 0.8% from its earlier all-time highs after unveiling its highly anticipated virtual reality headset and software updates at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference held on Monday.

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