Asian markets are mostly up in positive territory on Wednesday with investors picking up stocks, tracking cues from the U.S. and European markets where the mood was fairly bullish overnight amid continued optimism about further stimulus. Though some of the markets in the region are off their early highs, the mood remains quite positive.
The Australian stock market is trading higher, extending recent gains, with investors picking up stocks amid easing worries about the global economy.
Energy, mining, information technology and healthcare stocks are trading firm. Financial and consumer staples stocks are also finding good support.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 26.6 points or 0.6 percent at 4,318.2. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,337.7, up 26.3 points or 0.6 percent from its previous close.
In the mining space, BHP Billiton (BHP: Quote,BBL: Quote) and Rio Tinto (RIO: Quote,RIO.L) are trading higher by 0.6 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Fortescue Metals is gaining 1.8 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 1.7 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 0.6 to 1 percent, while Caltex Australia is trading stronger by about 2 percent.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank (ANZ: Quote), Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK: Quote) are up 0.4 to 1 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is adding 0.4 percent, while Bank of Queensland is up marginally.
Sims Metal Management is gaining 5.8 percent, Computershare is up 5.2 percent and Arrium is trading stronger by 5.2 percent.
Paladin Energy is up with a gain of 4.8 percent. Campbell Brothers is moving up by 4.2 percent and Iluka Resources is up 4 percent.
Lynas Corporation, QR National, Boart Longyear, Seven West Media, Goodman Group, Monadelphous Group and David Jones are also up with impressive gains.
Stockland Limited shares are down 3.5 percent following the company reporting a 35 percent fall in full-year profit. The company expects the real estate markets to remain weak in the year ahead.
Stockland's net profit for the year to June 30 was A$487 million, down from A$754.6 million in the previous corresponding period. Underlying profit for the year to June was A$676.1 million, down 7 percent on the previous year.
Transurban Group is down 3.6 percent and Sydney Airport is trading lower by about 3 percent. Telstra Corporation, Investa Office Fund, SP Ausnet and Asciano are also trading notably lower.
In economic news, Australian home loan commitments increased 1.3 percent month-on-month to 46,859 in June, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. The rate of growth was weaker than the 2 percent increase expected by economists.
The Japanese market opened on a strong note, tracking a positive lead from Wall Street. A weak yen and some encouraging corporate news too contributed to the bright start.
Steel, non-ferrous metals, real estate, automobile, financial and precision instruments stocks posted strong gains. Electric power, communications, chemicals and oil stocks also moved higher.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which opened with a strong positive gap, was up 143.3 points or 1.6 percent at 8,964.7 when the morning session ended.
Mitsui Mining & Smelting shares spurted 8.5 percent. Sumco Corp gained more than 6 percent, Mitsumi Electric added 5.5 percent and Advantest Corp (ATE: Quote) gained 5.2 percent.
Pacific Metals, JFE Holdings, Nippon Light Metal, Kansai Electric Power, Toho Zinc, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nippon Electric Glass, Okuma Corp, Mitsui OSK Lines, Sharp Corp, Kobe Steel, Japan Steel Works and Heiwa Real Estate were all up by 4 to 5 percent.
Nippon Paper Group, Sojitz Corp, Dowa Holdings, Nippon Paper Group, Alps Electric, Nippon Soda and Nippon Steel Corp gained more than 3 percent.
Among banks, Aozora Bank, Chiba Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (MTU: Quote) and Shizuoka Bank were up 1 to 3 percent.
In the automobile space, Hino Motors, Honda Motor (HMC: Quote), Mazda Motor and Suzuki Motor gained 2 to 3 percent. Mitsubishi Motor, Nissan Motor and Toyota Motor (TM: Quote,TYT.L) too posted notable gains.
Among prominent losers, Pioneer Corp drifted down by about 7 percent following a weak earnings outlook. Dainippon Screen Manufacturing lost 3.5 percent, Daikin Industries eased 2.2 percent and Nippon Sheet Glass declined by 1.8 percent.
Sapporo Holdings, Sony Financial Holdings, Dai Nippon Printing, NTT Docomo and Toho Co. also traded weak.
On the economic front, Japan saw a current account surplus of 433.3 billion yen in June, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday - down 19.6 percent on year. That topped forecasts for a surplus of 415.4 billion yen and a 24.9 percent annual contraction after showing a surplus of 215.1 billion and a 62.6 percent plunge in May.
The trade balance reflected a surplus of 112.0 billion yen, down 13.7 percent on year. That missed expectations for a surplus of 114.9 billion yen following the downwardly revised shortfall of 941.0 billion yen in the previous month (originally -848.2 billion yen).
Meanwhile, bank lending in Japan was up 1.0 percent on year at 396.424 trillion yen in July, the Bank of Japan said. That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.8 percent, which would have been unchanged from the June reading.
Including trusts, bank lending was up an annual 0.7 percent after shedding a downwardly revised 0.6 percent in the previous month. Lending from foreign banks in Japan plummeted an annual 22.4 percent to 2.163 trillion yen after plunging 20.6 percent on year a month earlier.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 78 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 78.51 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea and Taiwan are up with strong gains. Shanghai, Indonesia and Malaysia are trading modestly higher, while Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore are down marginally. Markets across the region had mostly ended notably higher on Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks ended higher on Tuesday, extending the upward move seen over the course of the two previous sessions, amid renewed optimism about the possibility of further monetary stimulus.
The Dow rose 51.1 points or 0.4 percent to 13,168.6, the Nasdaq jumped 26 points or 0.9 percent to 3,015.9 and the S&P 500 advanced 7.1 points or 0.5 percent at 1,401.4.
Major European markets too closed higher on Tuesday. While the French CAC 40 index moved up 1.5 percent, the German DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index gained 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil extended gains for a third straight day to end at a two-month high on Tuesday, with investors opting for riskier assets. Crude for September delivery gained $1.21 or 1.6 percent to close at $93.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $94.42 a barrel intraday.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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