Asia stocks mixed as oil jumps; investors react to RBA rate decision

SINGAPORE – Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Tuesday trade, while the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its cash rate target unchanged.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.12% while the Topix index shed 0.29%.

South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1% lower. Elsewhere, Australia stocks rose as the S & P / ASX 200 advanced 0.26%.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times index gained 0.34%. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China are closed on Tuesday for a holiday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded around 0.2% higher.

Oil moves higher

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“It’s like a little dance that has been going on around energy sanctions,” Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Tuesday. “The US banned Russian oil imports but we know that it’s a far more difficult decision… for Europe.”

“We also have to think about what Putin might do in retaliation, so you know that’s another major headache for the European Union,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced Tuesday its decision to keep the cash rate target unchanged at 0.1%.

“The Board has wanted to see actual evidence that inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3 per cent target range before it increases interest rates,” said RBA Governor Philip Lowe. “Inflation has picked up and a further increase is expected, but growth in labor costs has been below rates that are likely to be consistent with inflation being sustainably at target.”

Following that decision the Australian dollar surged to $ 0.7573, continuing to trek upward after yesterday’s jump from below $ 0.75.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 0.81% to 4,582.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 103.61 points, or 0.3%, to 34,921.88. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite outperformed, surging 1.9% to 14,532.55.

Currencies

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99,026 after a recent climb from below 98.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 122.50 per dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 122 seen against the greenback last week.

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