Asia Pacific investors’ enthusiasm for energy stocks returned as oil prices steadied following Monday’s drop, while fixed income investors sat on the sidelines ahead of Wednesday’s monetary policy decision from the US Federal reserve.
Shares in Toshiba fell as much as 6.9 per cent in Tokyo as the company confirmed it was seeking an extension to the March 14 deadline for filing its third-quarter results, after first delaying a month ago.
Japan’s Topix index was off 0.2 per cent, with a 1.2 per cent rally in energy stocks offset by losses of 0.6 per cent in both the real estate and telecoms segments.
Energy stocks were enjoying a boost in Australia, with a 1.2 per cent for the sector led by Origin Energy, up 3.2 per cent, and Woodside Petroleum, up 0.8 per cent.
Mining shares were also climbing, with Rio Tinto gaining 2.3 per cent and rival BHP Billiton up 1.5 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.2 per cent higher, buoyed by consumer discretionary stocks.
In Seoul, the Kospi Composite index was advancing for a second day, adding 0.4 per cent after Monday’s rise of 1 per cent.
The South Korean won walked back its initial gains on the US dollar, softening 0.4 per cent to Won1,149.38 after strengthening 1.1 per cent on Monday.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of peers, was up 0.1 per cent at 101.38.
The Australian dollar shed 0.2 per cent against its US counterpart to $0.7551, while the Japanese yen was essentially flat at ¥114.83 per dollar.
Traders of sovereign bonds were shunning major moves ahead of Wednesday’s interest rates decision from the US Federal Reserve. The yield, which moves inversely to price, on 10-year US Treasuries was down 1 basis point at 2.617 per cent.
Asia-Pacific government bonds were flat, with the exception of the 10-year South Korea note whose yield was up 1bp at 2.285 per cent.
Oil prices were wavering in Asia after stabilising somewhat in the final stretch of Monday’s US session.
Brent crude, the international oil marker, was 0.3 per cent lower at $51.22 a barrel, having closed basically flat the previous day.
West Texas Intermediate was off 0.2 per cent at 48.28, having shed 0.2 per cent as of Monday’s close — though that was up from an intraday drop of as much as 1.2 per cent that took it below $48 a barrel for the first time since November.