Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Friday, following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders continued to react to the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy announcement, with the central bank announcing plans to scale back its asset purchases but signaling it won’t be in a hurry to raise interest rates.
However, the markets are dragged amid weakness from crude oil and the coronavirus situation in the region, particularly in China. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.
The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Friday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,500 level, following mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, led by strength in energy, financial and mining stocks. Traders are also cautious as the country is gradually reopen its borders and after lifting lockdown restrictions, particularly in Victoria where COVID-19 cases are still high.
Victoria reported 1,343 new locally acquired cases and ten deaths on Thursday. NSW has reported 249 new local cases of COVID-19 and three deaths.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 43.10 points or 0.58 percent to 7,471.10, after touching a high of 7,477.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 44.60 points or 0.58 percent to 7,790.90. Australian markets ended modestly higher on Thursday.
Among major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining more than 1 percent, BHP Group is edging up 0.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding almost 1 percent, while Mineral Resources is edging down 0.2 percent and OZ Minerals is flat.
Oil stocks are mostly higher. Oil Search is gaining almost 1 percent and Santos is edging up 0.6 percent, while Beach energy and Origin Energy is adding almost 2 percent each. Woodside Petroleum is losing 1.5 percent.
Among tech stocks, Xero is losing almost 1 percent, while Afterpay and Appen are declining more than 3 percent each. WiseTech Global is gaining more than 3 percent.
Among the big four banks, Westpac is flat, ANZ Banking is edging up 0.4 percent and National Australia Bank is adding more than 1 percent. Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent after it raised interest rates on a range of fixed-rate home loans.
Gold miners are higher. Resolute Mining is gaining more than 1 percent, Evolution Mining is up almost 4 percent and Northern Star Resources is adding almost 5 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are rising more than 3 percent each.
Shares in News Corp are surging more than 10 percent after its reported a jump in first quarter profit.
Shares in Link Administration are soaring more than 11 percent after US private equity firm Carlyle again floated a non-binding indicative proposal to fully acquire the shareholder registry firm for $2.8 billion.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.738 on Friday.
The Japanese stock market is trading notably lower on Friday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 falling just below the 29,600 level, despite the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders were booking profits after the recent rally. Traders are also cautious after the recent general elections amid political and policy uncertainties.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,593.61, down 200.76 points or 0.67 percent, after hitting a low of 29,579.57 earlier. Japanese shares closed significantly higher on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing 1.5 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 3 percent and Toyota is down more than 1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is edging up 0.3 percent, Tokyo Electron is gaining more than 1 percent and Screen Holdings is up almost 1 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 2 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down more than 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is declining almost 2 percent.
Among major exporters, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are slipping more than 1 percent each, while Canon is losing almost 1 percent. Sony is flat.
Among the other major losers, Nikon is plunging more than 8 percent, Tokai Carbon is losing almost 7 percent and Showa Denko K.K. is down more than 6 percent, while Terumo and Daikin Industries are sliding almost 5 percent each. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is declining 4.5 percent, while, Keio, Mitsubishi Motors, Mazda Motor and Kobe Steel are slipping more than 4 percent each. Tokyu Fudosan Holdings, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Nippon Steel are down almost 4 percent.
Conversely, Sumco is soaring almost 8 percent, Konami Holdings is surging more than 6 percent and Ajinomoto is gaining almost 3 percent.
In economic news, the average of household spending in Japan was down 1.9 percent on year in September, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday, coming in at 265,306 yen. That beat forecasts for a drop of 3.9 percent following the 3.0 percent decline in August. On a monthly basis, household spending jumped 5.0 percent – again exceeding expectations for a gain of 2.8 percent following the 3.9 percent drop in the previous month. The average of monthly income per household stood at 481,800 yen, up 2.5 percent on year.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 113 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia are lower by between 0.6 and 0.9 percent each, while New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.9 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, extending a recent upward trend. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs during trading on Thursday. The narrower Dow bucked the uptrend, however, with the blue chip index closing modestly lower.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 128.72 points or 0.8 percent to 15,940.31 and the S&P 500 rose 19.39 points or 0.4 percent to 4,680.06, while the Dow climbed well off its worst levels going into the close but still edged down 33.35 points or 0.1 percent to 3,612.23.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both rose by 0.4 percent.
Crude oil prices tumbled and settled at their lowest level in nearly a month on Thursday after OPEC decided to stick with its plan to raise oil output modestly and gradually. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended lower by $2.05 or 2.5 percent at $78.81 a barrel.
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