By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks sagged on Tuesday, weighed by a sharp decline in crude oil prices as Libyan ports reopened, while the dollar was on the defensive ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's first congressional testimony.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow <.DJI> edged up 0.2 percent but the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.1 percent as energy shares were hit by the drop in oil that offset a jump in financials.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was 0.1 pct lower following two sessions of gains.
"Crude has been rising steadily so some kind of adjustment was due. From this context the impact on the broader economy, inflation and therefore the stock markets should be limited," said Soichiro Monji, senior economist at Daiwa SB Investments in Tokyo.
Crude prices slumped more than 4 percent on Monday, with Brent futures
Concerns over China's second-quarter economic growth also weighed on oil prices. The country's economy expanded at a slower pace as Beijing's efforts to contain debt hurt activity, while June factory output growth weakened to a two-year low.
Australian stocks <.AXJO> fell 0.3 percent, South Korea's KOSPI <.KS11> lost 0.35 percent and Japan's Nikkei <.N225> edged up 0.3 percent.
But Brent has gained about 7.5 percent in 2018, during which it poked above $80.00 a barrel in May to a 3-1/2-year high.
"The stock markets have been quite steady recently, and this shows that investors are starting to look beyond the U.S. midterm elections, by then which President (Donald) Trump's posturing is expected to have peaked out," Monji at Daiwa SB Investments said.
In currencies, the dollar index against at basket of six major currencies was nearly flat at 94.535 <.DXY>.
The index shed 0.25 percent on Monday, pushed back from a two-week high of 95.241 scaled on Friday ahead of Fed Chairman Powell's first congressional testimony.
Powell will testify on the economy and monetary policy before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, followed by testimony on Wednesday to the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
He is likely to reiterate the Fed's stance towards gradual monetary policy tightening, although any suggestion of caution on recent trade tensions could unnerve the markets.
The euro was steady at $1.1710
The Australian dollar dipped 0.1 percent to $0.7413
Brent crude futures were 0.3 percent higher at $72.11 a barrel after the previous day's steep fall. U.S. crude
(Editing by Sam Holmes)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Jul 17, 2018 07:05 AM