Asian markets trade mixed as US reports strong housing data
Investors believe the positive US housing data has raised the chances of an increase in interest rates in the coming months Reuters

While Asian stock market indices were trading mixed on Wednesday (24 August), the Shanghai Composite was down 0.02% at 3,089.00 as of 6.10am GMT, following a positive close overnight on Wall Street amid positive US housing data.

The US Commerce Department revealed on Tuesday (23 August) that new home sales in July had increased to their highest levels in nearly eight years. Sales were up 12.4% on-year to 654,000, according to a news report.

According to Reuters, this enabled many investors to book profits as they reportedly believe that the positive data raises the chances of an increase in the interest rate in the coming months. Investors would now be even more eager to listen to Janet Yellen's speech at the US Fed meeting on Friday (26 August). They hope that the Fed Chair would provide a hint about the timeline of the next rate increase.

"At this juncture, the consensus is coalescing around the view that Yellen will bait the market enough to sustain further rate normalisation expectations for this year without telegraphing a September hike," OCBC analysts in Singapore said.

Indices in the rest of the region were trading as follows at 6.24am GMT

Hong KongHang Seng Index22,787.93Down0.92%
JapanNikkei 22516,597.30Up0.61%
South KoreaKOSPI2,043.94Down0.29%
IndiaCNX Nifty8,643.55Up0.13%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,561.70Up0.14%

Overnight (23 August), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,547.30, up 0.10%, while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,868.51, up 0.59%.

Among commodities, oil prices declined after the American Petroleum Institute (API) revealed on Tuesday (23 August) that crude inventories in the country had increased by 4.5 million barrels last week, reigniting oversupply fears among investors. While WTI crude oil was trading lower by 1.50% at $47.38 (£35.96) a barrel, Brent crude was trading 1.20% lower at $49.36 a barrel as of 6.30am GMT.