Asian stock markets are mostly trading weak on Friday with investors making cautious moves amid lingering concerns about the economic situation in the eurozone. Though most of the markets in the region started off on a firm note, stocks found stiff resistance at higher levels and pared a significant portion of their gains as the session progressed.
After moving higher in early trades amid selective buying, the Australian market retreated with investors turning cautious and trimming down positions amid concerns about the eurozone economy.
Energy, mining, consumer discretionary, information technology and property trusts stocks found some support early on in the session, but came off their highs subsequently on selling pressure. Financial, industrial and healthcare stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,071.3, is currently trading at 4,026.8, down 29 points or 0.7 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 26.5 points or 0.6 percent at 4,079.7, well off the day's high of 4,121.
Among bank stocks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading modestly higher, while ANZ Bank is down marginally. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up slightly from the unchanged line.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton and Newcrest Mining are up 0.7 percent and 1 percent respectively. Fortescue Metals is down nearly a percent, while Rio Tinto is trading flat.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Caltex Australia are up 0.5 to 1 percent, while Oil Search is down marginally.
Shares of Sims Metal Management are down more than 6 percent following a weak profit forecast from the company for the financial year ending June 30, 2012.
Aquarius Platinum is trading lower by over 5 percent. Downer EDI, Leighton Holdings, Onesteel, Asciaono, Fairfax Media, Treasury Wine Estates and Wesfarmers are also down with notable losses.
David Jones, Iluka Resources, Perseus Mining, News Corporation, Boral and Spark Infrastructure Group are all trading in positive territory with impressive gains.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened lower and was quoting at US$0.9763 in early trades, down slightly from Thursday's close of US$0.9773.
After a firm start and a subsequent fall from higher levels, the Japanese market was hovering around the unchanged line at the end of the morning session with investors mostly treading a cautious path amid worries about the economic situation in Europe.
A weaker than expected report on Japanese inflation too has contributed to the market's retreat from higher levels.
Pharmaceuticals, electric power, manufacturing and insurance stocks opened on a firm note but gave up most of their gains as the session progressed. Financial, mining, communications and transport stocks traded mixed.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which advanced to 8,617 in early trades, was up with a slender gain at 8,563.7 when the morning session ended.
Japan Tobacco Inc shares gained over 3.5 percent following an announcement from the company that it will pay 475 million euros for acquiring Belgium-based Gryson NV.
Tokyu Land Corp, Dai Nippon Printing, Sumitomo Realty & Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Aozora Bank, Teijin, Toppan Printing, Astellas Pharma and Seven & I Holdings moved up by 1.5 to 2.5 percent.
Sumco Corp., Sony Corp, Oki Electric Industry, Japan Steel Works and Advantest Corp lost 3 to 4 percent.
JFE Holdings, Mitsubishi Motors, IHI Corp, Pacific Metals and Mitsubishi Materials also posted sharp losses.
On the economic front, core consumer prices in Japan were up 0.2 percent on year on April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday - beating forecasts for a gain of 0.1 percent and unchanged from the previous month. Overall inflation was up 0.4 percent - in line with expectations and easing from 0.5 percent in March.
On a monthly basis, core CPI was up 0.2 percent and overall inflation added 0.1 percent.
Tokyo inflation - considered a leading indicator for the nationwide trend, was down 0.5 percent on year in May - missing forecasts for -0.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the April reading.
Core CPI in Tokyo plummeted 0.8 percent, well shy of forecasts for -0.5 percent, which also would have been unchanged from a month prior.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded around the mid 79 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 79.68 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan are trading notably lower. New Zealand is down marginally, while Shanghai, Malaysia and South Korea are up in positive territory. Markets across the region ended on a mixed note on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks saw a choppy ride on Thursday, as traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves amid some uninspiring economic data and on lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe.
The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line, eventually ending the session mixed. While the Nasdaq ended down 10.7 points or 0.4 percent at 2,839.4, the Dow rose 33.6 points or 0.3 percent to 12,529.8 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.8 points or 0.1 percent to 1,320.7.
Major European markets moved higher on Thursday. While the German DAX index rose 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 index advanced by 1.2 percent, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped 1.6 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures rebounded to settle higher on Thursday, after reaching a seven-month low in the previous session. Crude for July delivery gained $0.76 or 0.9 percent to close at $90.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com