Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading lower in the early deals on Tuesday amid continuing uncertainty about the impact of US President Donald Trump's economic policies. Investors sought refuge in the safe-haven yen and gold as risk appetite waned. Japan's Nikkei share average dropped to a two-week low after global stocks fell and a stronger yen hurt overall sentiment, while Toyota Motor underperformed the market following worse-than-expected earnings forecast. Investors remained cautious ahead of a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump on February 10 and 11, with trade and currencies likely to be on their agenda. Among the other Asian markets, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Shanghai and Hong Kong are all lower. Bucking the trend, Singapore and Taiwan are modestly higher.
Nikkei 225 dropped 44.54 points or 0.23% to 18,932.17, Jakarta Composite slipped 7.58 points or 0.14% to 5,388.41, KOSPI Index contracted 2.10 points or 0.10% to 2,075.56, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI dipped 2.93 points or 0.17% to 1,688.31, Shanghai Composite decreased 9.79 points or 0.31% to 3,147.20 and Hang Seng was down by 37.65 points or 0.16% to 23,310.59.
On the flip side, Straits Times surged 14.63 points or 0.48% to 3,071.54, and Taiwan Weighted was up by 8.96 points or 0.09% to 9,546.97.