Asian Markets Track Global Markets Lower

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Wednesday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, amid concerns about global economic slowdown after release of disappointing data that showed weak services activity in China and slowing eurozone business activity. The weakening of major Asian currencies against the US dollar hurt as well. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday.

The Australian stock market is notably lower on Wednesday, extending the slight losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,300 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with weakness in mining stocks partially offset by gains in energy stocks amid a spike in crude oil prices.

The Australian dollar also tumbled after the RBA held interest rates for a third straight month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 43.90 points or 0.60 percent to 7,270.40, after hitting a low of 7,270.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is 43.50 points or 0.58 percent to 7,473.30. Australian stocks ended slightly lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is losing almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.5 percent, while BHP Group is edging up 0.2 percent. Mineral Resources is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Energy is gaining 1.5 percent, Santos is adding almost 2 percent, Beach energy is advancing more than 2 percent and Origin Energy is edging up 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is edging up 0.5 percent and Appen is gaining almost 1 percent, while Zip is losing 2.5 percent, Xero is declining almost 1 percent and WiseTech Global is down more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank is edging up 0.2 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent. Westpac is edging down 0.5 percent.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are declining more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is losing 1.5 percent, Gold Road Resources is slipping almost 2 percent and Resolute Mining is down more than 2 percent.

In other news, shares in Orora are plunging almost 20 percent after the bottle maker competed a $1.35 billion equity raise to fund the buyout of France’s Saverglass.

In economic news, Australia’s gross domestic product expanded by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent on quarter in the second quarter of 2023, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.3 percent and was up from 0.2 percent in the first quarter. On an annualized basis, GDP jumped 2.1 percent – again topping forecasts for 1.7 percent buy slowing from 2.3 percent in the three months prior.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.638 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is notably higher on Wednesday, extending the gains in the previous seven sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 33,200 level, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with gains across most sectors, led by exporters and technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 33,262.48, up 225.72 points or 0.68 percent, after touching a high of 32,279.00 earlier. Japanese stocks ended modestly higher on Tuesday.

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

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Advantest are gaining more than 2 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is adding almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are advancing more than 1 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Sony is adding almost 2 percent. Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Mitsui E&S is surging almost 5 percent and Mazda Motor is gaining more than 4 percent, while Pacific Metals and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are adding almost 4 percent each. JTEKT and Concordia Financial are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, there are no other major losers.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-147 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and South Korea are lower by between 0.2 and 0.5 percent each, while Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.3 percent each. Taiwan is relatively flat.

On the Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday, after posting some strong gains last week. The major averages all ended in negative territory, although the Nasdaq managed to see a few brief spells above the flat line.

The Dow ended with a loss of 195.74 points or 0.56 percent at 34,641.97. The S&P 500 settled lower by 18.94 points or 0.42 percent at 4,496.83, while the Nasdaq finished with a marginal loss of 10.86 points or 0.08 percent at 14,020.95.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index ended down 0.2 percent, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 both ended lower by 0.34 percent. The pan European Stoxx 600 ended down 0.23 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed higher on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia and Russia announced they will extend their voluntary production cuts by three months. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended higher by $1.14 or about 1.3 percent at $86.69 a barrel.

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