Asian Markets Show Mixed Trend

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, on solid U.S. earnings news and continued support from crude oil prices. Inflation concerns persisted as oil prices tested new multi-year highs, with expectations that the Federal Reserve and other central banks are going to tighten their monetary policy. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

Traders also continue to express concerns that the coronavirus situation in the region and other countries, particularly in the U.S., could dent the pace of global economic recovery.

The Australian stock market is slightly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with energy and financial stocks providing support, partially offset by the weakness in gold miners and technology stocks. Meanwhile, the domestic coronavirus situation, particularly in Victoria, remains a concern, though the lockdowns are being lifted.

Victoria recorded 1,903 new locally acquired cases and seven deaths on Sunday, with the total active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria standing at 22,327. NSW reported 265 new locally acquired cases and five deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 9.90 points or 0.13 percent to 7,371.90, after touching a high of 7,393.80 and a low of 7,354.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 8.20 points or 0.11 percent to 7,682.40. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining almost 1 percent and OZ Minerals is adding almost 4 percent, while Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals are edging up 0.2 percent each. BHP Group is edging down 0.3 percent

Oil stocks are mostly higher, with Oil Search gaining almost 2 percent, Beach energy adding almost 3 percent and Santos higher by more than 1 percent. Woodside Petroleum is up almost 1 percent. Origin Energy is losing almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay, Xero and WiseTech Global are losing almost 1 percent each, while Appen is edging down 0.4 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Resolute Mining and Northern Star Resources are losing almost 3 percent each, while Newcrest Mining edging down 0.2 percent and Gold Road Resources is down almost 2 percent. Evolution Mining is declining more than 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is edging up 0.5 percent and Westpac is gaining almost 1 percent, while ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are adding more than 1 percent each.

Shares in Senex Energy are soaring more than 14 percent after South Korea’s POSCO International sweetened its offer for the natural gas company to $814.8 million.

Aristocrat Leisure stock was halted in the morning as it made a $5 billion acquisition offer for U.K. gaming software company Playtech.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.740 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower in choppy trading on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 just below the 29,000 level, ignoring the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders are cautious ahead of the looming general elections, with reports indicating that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will mostly regain power.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,987.66, down 80.97 points or 0.28 percent, after hitting a low of 28,924.40 and touching a high of 29,144.33 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is up almost 1 percent and Toyota is gaining more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is edging down 0.2 percent and Screen Holdings is losing more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.3 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.5 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 1 percent, while Mizuho Financial is edging down 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic losing almost 1 percent and Sony down 1.5 percent, while Canon rising more than 1 percent. Mitsubishi Electric is flat.

Among the other major losers, M3 and Daiichi Sankyo are losing more than 3 percent each, while Takashimaya and Kyowa Kirin are higher by almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Toho Zinc is gaining almost 11 percent and Mitsui E&S Holdings is adding more than 5 percent, Inpex is up 1.5 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is rising more than 4 percent, while Hitachi Zosen and Nippon Sheet Glass are gaining almost 4 percent each. Kawasaki Heavy Industries is up more than 3 percent, while Rakuten Group and Pacific Metals are up almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 114 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and China are lower by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each. Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Friday, extending the rally seen over the course of Thursday’s session. With the continued upward move, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new one-month closing highs.

The major averages all closed firmly positive, although the Dow outperformed its counterparts. The Dow shot up 382.20 points or 1.1 percent to 35,294.76, while the Nasdaq rose 73.91 points or 0.5 percent to 14,897.34 and the S&P 500 climbed 33.11 points or 0.1 percent to 4,471.37.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled notably higher Friday after the International Energy Agency said oil demand is likely to increase significantly due to the energy crunch supporting prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November rose $0.97 or 1.2 percent at $82.28 a barrel. For the week, WTI Crude oil futures gained 3.7 percent, surging for the eighth straight week.

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