Markets in Asia were mixed but mostly lower on Tuesday, as the Reserve Bank of Australia stood pat on interest rates, and a belligerent North Korea fired another test missile despite international warnings.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.12% to 20,032.35, as the yen strengthened 0.17% to JPY 113.19 against the greenback while investors scrambled for safe havens.

The carmakers were a bright spot on the Tokyo benchmark, after both Nissan and Toyota reported year-on-year US sales increases of at least 2%.

Shares in Toyota were up 1.85%, and Nissan rose 1.03%.

Petroleum company Idemitsu Kosan plunged 11.7% during the session, after reports emerged the company was looking to issue more shares.

The proposal was largely seen as a bid to dilute the influence of the founding Idemitsu family, who control around a third of the shares, and who are opposed to a planned merger with Showa Shell Sekiyu.

“Given the intended use of funds and potential merger synergies, we doubt profit growth would offset the impact of dilution and we expect the share price to soften due to dilution,” noted Citi analyst Takashi Miyazaki, adding that he thought it unlikely the Idemitsu family could block the proposals and merger.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.39% at 3,183.47, while the smaller, technology-centric Shenzhen Composite lost 0.46% to 1,896.53.

Shares in Wanda Film – a division of the Dalian Wanda conglomerate – were suspended from trading in Shenzhen, pending an announcement.

The nature and contents of that announcement were not yet clear.

South Korea's Kospi finished down 0.58% at 2,380.52, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slid 1.53% to 25,389.01.

Seoul's carmakers ended the day worse off than their Japanese peers, as Hyundai reported a fall in sales stateside in June.

That manufacturer's stock lost 3.06%, while Kia Motors was off 1.81%.

The hermit state autocracy of North Korea launched a missile believed to have possibly landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone on Tuesday, which also led to a slide on the Seoul bourse.

Oil prices were lower during Asian trading on Tuesday, with Brent crude last down 0.47% at $49.45 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate off 0.36% at $46.90.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was one of the exceptions to the red arrows, finishing 1.75% higher at 5,783.82, underpinned by most of its subindexes, with the weighty financials ending the day 2.21% firmer.

The country's central bank kept interest rates on hold at 1.5%, which was widely expected before the news, which led to a weakening of the Aussie dollar initially.

Banks led the rallying cry, which also came after reports the opposition in the state of South Australia had decided not to lend their support to a levy on banks.

National Australia Bank finished ahead 2.78%, and Westpac Banking Corporation added 3.29%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 added another green sparkle to the region, closing up 0.4% at 7,620.64.

It was led higher by the former state telecoms monopoly Spark, which added 3.6%, while the flag carrier Air New Zealand added 2.4%.

Wellington-listed shares in the regional banks, including Westpac, also charged ahead on that side of the ditch, as Kiwi traders reacted to the interest rate and bank levy news out of Australia.

The down under dollars were both weaker, with the Aussie last behind 0.77% at AUD 1.3155 against the greenback, while the Kiwi retreated 0.28% to NZD 1.3747.


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