Asian Shares Slide In Cautious Trade

Asian stock markets drifted lower on Tuesday and the euro slipped after ECB President Mario Draghi told European lawmakers in Brussels that the euro zone economy still needs a “fairly substantial amount” of monetary stimulus to restore stable inflation.

Oil held gains near $50 a barrel while the yen rallied after a round of positive economic data. Trading volumes remained thin across the region amid public holidays in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Investors keep an eye on the U.S. jobs report due this Friday, which may bolster the case for a rate hike on June 14.

Japan’s Nikkei index was down half a percent at 19,578 as the yen strengthened to reach a 12-day high on concerns about a Greek bailout and amid speculation that Italy may head to the polls in the early autumn.

Takemoto Yohki fell nearly 3 percent on fund raising reports. Companies engaged in child education were in focus after the government’s policy and reform draft sought increased education spending at all levels.

Japanese household spending declined again in April, official figures showed today, while retail sales rose more than expected and the jobless rate held steady at a two-decade low in the month, Consumer price inflation rose an annual 0.3 percent, well below the BOJ’s 2 percent target.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.1 percent at 5,702 amid losses in the consumer staples and telecoms sectors. South Korea’s Kospi was losing 0.6 percent while New Zealand shares were marginally lower.

South Africa’s rand extended losses after embattled President Jacob Zuma survived fresh calls within the ruling African National Congress party for him to resign.

European stocks ended marginally lower on Monday as oil extended last week’s drop and Italian banks came under selling pressure after reports that Intesa Sanpaolo is considering closing branches and cutting costs in a strategy shift.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index ended little changed with a negative bias and France’s CAC 40…

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