Hong Kong’s Hang Seng leads gains in Asia as Trump Iran decision awaited

  • Written by MarketWatch
  • Published in Economics

Stock markets in Asia were mostly higher Tuesday, buoyed by continued gains in the U.S. Monday even as investors await President Donald Trump’s decision on whether to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

Read: Trump says he’ll announce his Iran nuclear deal decision on Tuesday[1]

“Risk sentiment is back up a little right now,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Group. “But I think these are just gyrations as people wait for the Trump announcement.”

Oil fell in late U.S. trading and continued to weaken as investors took profit ahead of Trump’s Iran announcement due Tuesday[2]. Crude prices CLM8, -1.20%[3]   were down nearly 1% in recent trading after hitting a 3 ½-year high Monday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.17%[4]   led gains in the region, rising 1%. Korea’s SEU, +0.22%[5]  gained 0.7% after a holiday on Monday, driven by gains of more than 2% in index heavyweight Samsung 005930, +1.93%[6]  . Gains in utilities helped Australia’s S&P/ASX XJO, +0.18%[7]  rise 0.4%, extending recent strength.

The Nikkei Stock Average NIK, +0.16%[8]   was recently up 0.2% even as Japanese household spending surprisingly fell 0.7% from a year earlier in March, a second-straight decline. That could mean the country’s economy contracted slightly in the first quarter, said Capital Economics in a note.

Japan’s gross domestic product has risen for eight straight quarters, the longest streak in nearly 30 years. Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities, said consumer sentiment was hurt by higher prices for daily necessities.

“It is ironic that price increases—which the Bank of Japan has been working so hard to realize—are now weighing on consumption and dragging down the economy,” he added.

—Megumi Fujikawa contributed to this article....

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