Despite a positive lead from Wall Street, Asian stock markets are mostly trading weak on Monday with investors mostly treading cautiously amid lingering worries about the financial situation in the eurozone.
Though almost all the markets started off on a weak note, a few of them recovered well on support at lower levels and regained some lost ground as the session progressed.
Mirroring fairly widespread selling, all the sectoral indices are down in negative territory in the Australian market.
Industrial, mining and energy stocks are among the major losers. Stocks from financial and consumer discretionary sectors are also mostly trading notably lower.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 3,993.8, is currently trading at 4,001.4, down 46.8 points or 1.2 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 45.8 points or 1.1 percent at 4,048.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are down 1.3 to 1.6 percent, while Newcrest Mining is losing nearly 2.5 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search, Origin Energy and Caltex Australia are down 1.1 to 1.8 percent, while Santos is trading lower by about 0.4 percent.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are down 1.2 to 1.4 percent, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trading 0.4 percent down. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are down 1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Whitehaven Coal shares are down more than 5 percent.
APA Group, Investa Office Fund, Duet Group, Stockland, Commonwealth Property Office Fund, Sydney Airport, Lynas Corporation, Beach Energy, James Hardie Industries and Transurban Group are trading lower by 3 to 4.3 percent.
Ramsay Healthcare, Centro Retail Australia, Alumina, JB Hi-Fi, Sims Metal Management, Seven West Media and Mirvac Group are also trading sharply lower.
Billabong International shares tumbled by over 30 percent following last week's earnings downgrade and the launch of an A$225 million capital raising. Billabong said it has completed the institutional component of its accelerated pro-rata renounceable entitlement offer and raised about A$155 million, or 79 percent of the new shares available.
The Japanese stock market opened on a firm note with investors picking up stocks, buoyed by a positive close on Wall Street last Friday and the yen's decline against the U.S. dollar.
However, stocks gave up early gains and the benchmark index Nikkei 225 drifted down into the red subsequently, as investors turned cautious amid lingering worries about the financial situation in Europe and on uncertainties about the near term outlook for the global economy.
The index, which declined to 8,775.4 from an early high of 8,837.8, was down 13.2 points or about 0.15 percent at 8,785.1 at the end of the morning session.
Real estate, pulp & paper, glass & ceramics and exporters started off on a firm note, but shed most of their gains subsequently. Electric power, marine transport and gas stocks turned in a mixed performance.
Unitika Ltd shares moved up by about 5 percent. Nippon Sheet Glass gained 3.5 percent.
Shimzu Corp, Nitto Boseki, Nissihinbo Holdings Inc and Nippon Light Metal moved up by 2 to 3 percent. KDDI Corp, Bridgestone Corp, Konami Corp and Taiheiyo Cement were among the other strong gainers.
Among the prominent losers, Yahoo Japan, Chiyoda Corp and Alps Electric Co drifted down by 3 to 3.5 percent. Inpex Corp, Advantest Corp, TDK, NEC Corp, Ricoh Co, Mitsumi Electric and J Front Retailing also declined sharply.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the mid-80 yen level in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 80.32 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably lower. Indonesia and New Zealand are down marginally, while Hong Kong and Malaysia are trading higher. Markets across the region ended lower on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks ended with moderate gains on Friday thanks to some hectic bargain hunting after the previous session's setback. However, the mood was generally cautious due to lingering concerns about the near term economic outlook.
The major averages pulled back off their highs going into the close but still ended the day firmly in positive territory. The Dow rose 67.2 points or 0.5 percent to 12,640.8, the Nasdaq jumped 33.3 points or 1.2 percent to 2,892.4 and the S&P 500 climbed 9.5 points or 0.7 percent to 1,335.
Major European markets ended lower on Friday. While the French CAC 40 index slid by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the German DAX index dropped by 1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures charged back toward $80 a barrel on Friday, trimming steep losses from the previous session despite deepening concerns about the health of the global economy. Crude for August rose $1.56 to settle at $79.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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