Asian Markets Track Global Sell-off

The sell-off in the global markets overnight is dragging Asian stock markets mostly lower on Friday, as traders react to an escalation in tensions in the Middle East, and lingering worries about global economic slowdown and the outlook for interest rates. Global equities also came under pressure after bond yields once again retraced its highest closing level in over sixteen years. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

In his speech at an Economic Club of New York luncheon, US Fed Chair Jerome Powell argued in prepared remarks that inflation is “still too high” and warned additional monetary policy tightening may be needed, citing recent data showing the resilience of economic growth and demand for labor.

Extending the losses in the previous session, the Australian stock market is sharply lower on Friday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is falling below the 6,900 level, dragged by weakness in iron ore miners and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 86.50 points or 1.24 percent to 6,895.10, after hitting a low of 6,878.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 90.30 points or 1.26 percent to 7,082.40. Australian markets ended sharply lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is losing almost 2 percent, Fortescue Metals is declining more than 2 percent, Rio Tinto is down more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is slipping almost 4 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos is gaining almost 2 percent and Beach energy is up almost 1 percent, while Woodside Energy and Origin Energy are flat.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block and Xero are losing 1.5 percent each, while WiseTech Global is slipping almost 2 percent and Appen is declining more than 3 percent. Zip is adding more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are losing almost 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are declining more than 1 percent each.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources is adding 1.5 percent, Resolute Mining is gaining almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing almost 2 percent, while Newcrest Mining is declining almost 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is down almost 1 percent.

In other news, shares in Liontown Resources are plummeting more than 32 percent after lithium miner raised $365 million from institutional investors at $1.80 per share to fund development of its Kathleen Valley Project.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.632 on Friday.

Extending the losses in the previous session, the Japanese stock market is notably lower on Friday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell below the 31,300 level, dragged by weakness in index heavyweights, exporters and financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 31,266.84, down 163.78 points or 0.52 percent, after hitting a low of 31,093.90 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday.

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

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.4 percent, while Screen Holdings is edging up 0.2 percent.

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

Among major exporters, Canon is losing almost 2 percent, Sony is down more than 1 percent, Panasonic is declining almost 4 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among other major losers, Taiyo Yuden is losing more than 4 percent and Mitsubishi Chemical is declining almost 3 percent, while Mazda Motor, NEC, Sumitomo Pharma and Shiseido are down almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Daiichi Sankyo is skyrocketing almost 12 percent.

In economic news, overall consumer prices in Japan were up 3.0 percent on year in September, the Ministry of Communications and Internal Affairs said on Friday. That was in line with expectations and down from 3.2 percent in August. On a monthly basis, inflation rose 0.3 percent, again matching forecasts and accelerating from 0.2 percent in the previous month.

Core CPI, which excludes the volatile costs of food, rose 2.8 percent on year, exceeding expectations for a 2.7 percent rise and slowing from 3.1 percent a month earlier. Core CPI rose 0.2 percent on month, easing from 0.3 percent in August.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 149 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and New Zealand are down 1.6 and 1.0 percent, respectively, while China, Malaysia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each. Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks saw significant volatility over the course of the trading day on Thursday after ending Wednesday’s session sharply lower. The major averages swung back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the day firmly in the red.

The major averages fell to new lows going into the close of trading. The Dow fell 250.91 points or 0.8 percent to 33,414.17, the Nasdaq slumped 128.13 points or 1.0 percent to 13,186.18 and the S&P 500 slid 36.60 points or 0.9 percent to 4,278.00.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher Thursday after early losses, as Israel reportedly prepared to move into Gaza to fight against Hamas. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November added $1.05 or 1.2 percent at $89.37 a barrel.

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