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Nikkei Markets

Nikkei Asia300 declines as Italian political uncertainty weighs

Tingyi Holdings jumps on earnings while Want Want China also climbs

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan slipped on Tuesday, dragged down by losses for financial and technology heavyweights, as investors were cautious amid political uncertainty in Italy and ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index edged 0.6% lower to 1,397.48. Global investor sentiment lost steam amid ongoing political uncertainty in Italy, with market participants bracing for fresh elections in the European nation after President Sergio Mattarella named former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli as interim prime minister. The euro sank to a multi-month low against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, while Italy's main equity gauge the FTSE MIB was down 2.9% after a 2% slide on Monday.

"A fraying of the Italian political process that could see another election called dampened investor enthusiasm overnight. Caution is today's watchword ahead of important global data due over the rest of the week," Michael McCarthy chief market strategist, CMC Markets and Stockbroking, said in a note.

Trade relations between the U.S. and China and caution ahead the U.S.-North Korea summit also remained a drag on sentiment.

Index heavyweights dragged the gauge down on Tuesday. Samsung Electronics shed 1.9% in Seoul, while Tencent Holdings and China Construction Bank (CCB) lost 0.8% and 1.4%, respectively, in Hong Kong.

Hang Lung Properties declined 1.5% in Hong Kong after its unit Passion Success's 10.73 billion yuan ($1.67 billion) bid won the land use rights in Hangzhou city. Guotai Junan Securities said its estimated gross rental yield of project, at 4.6%, justified that the land was "fairly" priced, but added that it was "definitely not cheap" with the information available.

Instant-noodle maker Tingyi Holding rose 5.4% in Hong Kong after reporting a 64.3% jump in profit for the March quarter and a 5.9% increase in revenue.

Snack food and beverage maker Want Want China Holdings added 4.7% to HK$7.56. Daiwa Capital Markets on Monday raised the stock's price target to HK$8.60 from HK$8, citing expectations of a continued recovery in revenue. The brokerage maintained its "buy" rating on the stock.

Steelmaker Posco fell 1.4% in Seoul. On Tuesday, Australian lithium miner Galaxy Resources said it will sell a package of mining tenements in Argentina to the South Korean company for $280 million.

Bharat Heavy Electricals advanced 5.6% in Mumbai after the electrical equipment maker on Tuesday reported a more than doubling of its March quarter net profit.

Larsen & Toubro, India's largest engineering and construction company, added 0.2% after reporting a better-than-expected 4.7% increase in fourth-quarter net profit late Monday.

Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra climbed 2.3% following a more than 70% surge in March-quarter profit.

--V. Phani Kumar

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