Business

Shares in Asia largely in negative territory

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Stocks in Asia were trading largely lower on Tuesday following a lacklustre lead from the US overnight and as oil prices fell again.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.64% at 17,750.68 points.

The benchmark index closed up nearly 2% on Monday, its highest close since early January, after a surprise move by the Bank of Japan cut rates to -0.1%.

In Australia, energy-related stocks weighed on the market, hurt by oil price worries.

Sydney's benchmark ASX 200 shed 1%, dragged down by shares in energy giants including BHP, Woodside and Santos.

Investors also reacted to a move by ratings agency S&P to lower its rating for BHP to "A" from "A+" due to falls in commodity prices, among other issues.

Shares in Woodside closed down 3.2%, Santos lost 4.26%, and BHP ended the trading day down 2.16%.

As widely expected, the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its rates on hold on Tuesday at a record low of 2%, where they have been since May 2015.

Shane Oliver, head economist with AMP Capital in Sydney, said the bank had seen "a balancing of more positive domestic developments against recent negative global developments" - a view he said had enabled the RBA to remain on hold for the moment.

"However, the RBA is clearly concerned about recent global and financial market developments and is waiting for more information in order to be able to judge its impact on global growth and the Australian economy," he said.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down 0.76% at 19,446.84, while the Shanghai Composite bucked the regional trend, closing 2.26% higher at 2,749.57.

In South Korea, the Kospi index closed down 1% to 1,906.60, in line with the rest of the region.

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