Investing.com

Investing.com - Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Tuesday, as investors returned to the market following the previous session’s steep decline, fueled by heightened tensions in Ukraine.



During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index rose 0.75%, China’s Shanghai Composite index shed 0.18%, Australia’s ASX/200 Index closed 0.29% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index ended up 0.47%.



The chance of military conflict in Ukraine eased following reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops engaged in military exercises close to Ukraine’s borders back to base after the exercises concluded.



Global equity markets suffered sharp losses on Monday as geopolitical tensions mounted after Russia''s parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to use military force in Ukraine.



In Tokyo, the Nikkei shook off earlier losses to turn higher as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar, amid receding concerns over the crisis in Ukraine. USD/JPY rose to a daily high of 101.93, moving off the previous session’s low of 101.19.



Index heavyweights Softbank added 0.65%, Fast Retailing picked up 1.2%, while Fanuc tacked on 0.7%.



Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index edged higher after the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 2.5% earlier in the session, in a widely expected decision.



The central bank reiterated that a prudent course looking forward would be "a period of stability in interest rates."



The big four banks were inched higher following the announcement, with National Australia Bank shares rising 0.5%, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group adding 0.7%, while Westpac Banking Group and Commonwealth Banking Group picked up 1% and 0.6% respectively.



Elsewhere, the Hang Seng rallied ahead of the National People’s Congress annual meeting beginning on Wednesday.



China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, jumped 2.2% as the company’s chairman said the firm would announce more details about the restructuring of its retail unit during the legislative session.



Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a sharply higher open. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 1.2% at the open, France’s CAC 40 futures jumped 1.2%, London’s FTSE 100 futures indicated a decline of 0.9%, while Germany''s DAX futures pointed to an increase of 1%.



In the euro zone, Spain is to release data on the change in the number of people unemployed.



Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets also pointed to a firmer open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of 0.65%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.65%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated an increase of 0.65%.



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