Asia stocks waver after China data, earnings in focus


The dollar was barely changed, with demand for safe-haven US Treasuries ebbing as risk appetite improved in parts of the broader market as investors took the view that Western-led strikes on Syria were a one-off intervention.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.1 percent to 21,806.03 by midday, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.4 percent to 30,372.72 and the Shanghai Composite index sank 1.5 percent to 3,111.65.

CHINA ECONOMY: Chinese shares declined ahead of the release of economic growth data that are expected to show the economy overshooting the official target to sustain a 6.8 percent annual pace in the first quarter of the year.

But separate data showed March industrial output missed expectations and first-quarter fixed-asset investment growth slowed, tempering equity market gains.

France's CAC 40 inched up 0.1 percent to 5,319.17 in early trading, while Germany's DAX added 0.3 percent to 12,430.06. Australian stocks gained 0.3 percent with mining shares gaining on higher aluminium prices.

"The markets had been bracing for a possible escalation in Syria following President Trump's earlier warnings".

"That said, the underlying picture has not changed". He added, "With trade war and now Syria fatigue likely to set in, however, it's best not to get too comfortable at this point as market risk sentiment swings will remain large this week".

Saturday's strikes were the biggest intervention by Western countries against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose ally Russian Federation is facing further US economic sanctions over its role in the conflict. But the impact on financial markets in Asia was limited as it comes at a time of even harsher threats of USA penalty tariffs on China and other nations.

Wall Street closed higher on Monday as investors appeared less concerned about possible retaliation for USA -led missile strikes on Syria, and the yield curve reached its flattest level in over a decade.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report an 18.6 per cent jump in first-quarter profit, on average, the biggest rise in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The greenback fell 0.41 percent against a basket of major currencies.DXY, while the euro EUR= rose 0.4 percent to $1.2378.

The British pound rallied to $1.4377, the highest dollar level since just after Britain's shock European Union exit referendum in June 2016, buoyed by expectations of Bank of England (BoE) interest rate hikes.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.01 yen from 107.12 yen late Monday.

Europe's stock markets rose Tuesday on China-driven global economic optimism, while the pound zoomed to its highest dollar level since the 2016 Brexit referendum on strengthening United Kingdom interest rate hike hopes and solid data.

The yields on German DE10YT=RR and 10-year USA government US10YT=RR bonds, among the most liquid and safe assets in the world, touched their highest levels in almost two weeks and four weeks, respectively. USA crude CLcv1 fell 1.62 percent to $66.30 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $71.49, down 1.5 percent on the day.

Aluminium hovered near seven-year highs reached the previous day after USA sanctions on Russian producer Rusal stirred supply concerns.