Markets in wait-and-see mode ahead of RBA decision

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Markets were in wait-and-see mode in Tuesday Asia trading ahead of an interest rates decision from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

A sustained rally in Nintendo’s stock continued as shares climbed just over 2 per cent, on track to mark a third straight day of gains at or above that level. Tokyo’s Topix index was flat, while the Nikkei 225 index was off 0.1 per cent.

In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.4 per cent, led by a 1.1 per cent gain in healthcare stocks. Regis Healthcare led the pack with a rise of 2.4 per cent. Shares in BHP Billiton fell as much as 1.7 per cent on Tuesday after Chilean presidential hopeful Alejandro Guillier met with striking workers at the company’s largest copper mine in the country and said a new contract being offered would lower benefits.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.1 per cent as a 0.9 per cent fall in telecoms stocks offset gains of 1 per cent in the consumer discretionary segment. In China the Shenzhen Composite index was down 0.2 per cent.

The Australian dollar gained on its US counterpart ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s key interest rate decision, up 0.2 per cent at $0.7592.

The yen softened 0.1 per cent to ¥114 per dollar, while China’s renminbi weakened by the same amount against the greenback to Rmb6.902. Foreign exchange reserves data due out later on Tuesday from the People’s Bank of China are expected to show a further drop below the $3tn level breached in January.

Moves were relatively muted in the sovereign bond market. Yield, which moves opposite to price, on 10-year Japanese government bonds was down 1 basis point at 0.058 per cent. 10-year Australian sovereign notes saw yield rise 1 basis point ahead of Tuesday’s interest rate decision from the RBA.

Oil prices were little moved in Tuesday Asia trading after making minor gains on Monday. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 0.1 per cent at $55.97 a barrel. The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, was flat at $53.19.

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