Investors are still casting about for direction at the start of a week of major announcements
Investors are still casting about for direction at the start of a week of major announcements AFP

Asian stocks were mostly down on Tuesday following a mixed session on Wall Street, with investors still casting about for direction at the start of a week of major announcements.

Bourses in New York, London, Frankfurt and Paris dipped in and out of negative territory on Monday, ahead of earnings results from US tech behemoths such as Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook owner Meta and Google parent Alphabet.

Investors will also be watching important economic data from Australia and the eurozone, as well as a policy meeting of the Bank of Japan.

South Korea on Tuesday announced better-than-expected economic growth of 0.3 percent for the first quarter of the year, dodging a technical recession.

But that, coupled with a surge in media stocks following a $2.5 billion investment announcement by Netflix, was still not enough to stave off losses in the broader Korean market.

"The (GDP) results were slightly stronger than expectations, but there is still a question mark over whether it will be sustained," Park Sang-hyun, an economist at HI Investment & Securities Co, told Bloomberg.

"Figures largely suggest the economy is still trying to find a bottom."

Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and Manila were also down.

Tokyo, Wellington, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur were up.

The US calendar also includes readings on first-quarter gross domestic product and an update on consumer confidence, as well as a potential vote in the long-running political stalemate over the US debt ceiling.

Moody's Analytics said in a note Monday that a plan proposed by Republican US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for cuts in government spending would slow growth and cut employment.

According to the ratings agency's research arm, if the draft presented by McCarthy on April 17 were passed as is, it would lead to a drop of 0.6 percentage points in US potential growth for 2024, as well as the elimination of 780,000 jobs.

On the corporate front, US lender First Republic Bank reported a more than 40 percent drop in deposits in the first quarter this year, but added that the situation had stabilised since late March.

Its shares fell more than 20 percent in after-hours trading following the earnings report, its first since the dramatic failures of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank last month shone a spotlight on regional lenders and their vulnerabilities.

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.6 percent at 19,637.87

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3266.12

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 28,706.04

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 33,875.40 (close)

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,912.20 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1054 from $1.1050 on Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2488 from $1.2485

Dollar/yen: UP at 134.30 yen from 134.14 yen

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $78.71 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $82.64 per barrel