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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks little changed as investors seek fresh catalysts

Samsung Electronics, Chinese real estate firms decline

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan ended little changed on Tuesday amid losses on Samsung Electronics and Chinese property developers.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan rose less than 0.1% to 1,367.66. Samsung Electronics slipped 0.3% after the South Korean electronics conglomerate delayed the public availability of its Galaxy Fold Smartphone amid reports that reviewers had encountered problems with it. Samsung said that in order to evaluate the feedback and run further international tests, it decided to delay the product launch.

The range-bound session for the A300 stocks came amid a lack of direction in U.S. equities. On Monday, the S&P 500 Index edged higher by 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% ahead of a busy earnings week for U.S. companies.

Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia, said "while a broad sense of positivity remains," investors needed a new catalyst to continue the current rally.

"This has been evident with U.S. indices largely wavering in the past couple of sessions with one awaiting the slew of earnings, particularly tech earnings, this week," she said.

Hong Kong-shares of CNOOC advanced 1.5% while PetroChina climbed 1.4% following Brent crude's climb to new six-month highs. Brent crude edged higher to $74.30 on Tuesday, adding to its near 3% advance in the previous session. Yesterday, the U.S. announced that it will end waivers granted for importing oil from Iran, confirming an earlier report by The Washington Post. Back in November, the U.S. had allowed a 180-day waiver to eight countries, which included China, India, Japan, and South Korea, after it re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

Mainland developers came under pressure after the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, or the Politburo, on Friday issued a statement following a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping, which echoed an earlier warning that housing is not for speculation. China Overseas Land & Investment dropped 1.7%, China Vanke tumbled 4.2%, China Evergrande Group lost 2.8%, and Sunac China Holdings fell 4%.

China Life Insurance rose 1.6% after saying it expects to report an 80%-100% increase in first-quarter net profit.

Singapore Technologies Engineering declined 2.1%. The company's aerospace and electronic sectors won contracts totaling S$2.1 billion ($1.55 billion) in the first quarter.

Social media heavyweight Tencent Holdings climbed 0.4%. The company on Thursday received approval from a Guangdong provincial authority to distribute gaming console Nintendo Switch with a built-in game in that province, a development that takes the Shenzhen-based company's presence into the gaming hardware segment.

--Nimesh Vora

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