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Asian Markets Mixed As U.S. Bond Yield Rise


Asian markets are mixed on Thursday despite the overnight gains on Wall Street as the increase in U.S. bond yields weighed on investor sentiment. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield climbed to 3.104 percent in early Asian trades, extending the upward move seen overnight.

The Australian market is declining, with banks leading the decliners. Mining and oil stocks are mostly higher.

In late-morning trades, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 12.10 points or 0.20 percent to 6,094.90, off a low of 6,082.80. The broader All Ordinaries Index is losing 11.20 points or 0.18 percent to 6,196.90.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.9 percent after Westpac went ex-dividend.

In the mining sector, BHP Billiton is rising more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto is advancing almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding 0.6 percent.

Atlas Iron said it will record a non-cash impairment of up to A$100 million in its full-year results after reporting an operating loss in the third quarter. However, the iron ore miner's shares are rising more than 3 percent.

Gold miner Evolution Mining is higher by 0.6 percent and Newcrest Mining is edging up less than 0.1 percent after gold prices edged higher.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher after crude oil prices rose overnight. Woodside Petroleum is up 0.7 percent and Oil Search is adding 0.2 percent, while Santos is down 0.3 percent.

DuluxGroup reported a 9 percent increase in first-half profit and reiterated its expectation for the full-year profit to exceed that of the prior year. The paint manufacturer's shares are declining 1 percent.

Transurban Group's shares are down more than 2 percent after the competition watchdog raised concerns over the company's interest in buying a majority stake of Sydney's WestConnex motorway.

Shares of Treasury Wine Estates are losing almost 11 percent amid media reports that the company is facing a supply glut in China, raising doubts over its ability to sustain growth on the mainland.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.6 percent in April. That exceeded expectations for 5.5 percent, which would have been unchanged from the March reading.

The Australian economy added 22,600 jobs last month - beating forecasts for 20,000 following the addition of 4,900 in the previous month.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar rebounded against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local unit was trading at US$0.7518, up from US$0.7484 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is advancing following the overnight gains on Wall Street and on a weaker yen. Investors shrugged off weak Japanese core machinery orders data for March.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 88.48 points or 0.39 percent to 22,805.71, off a high of 22,842.66 earlier.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Sony is advancing almost 2 percent and Canon is rising 0.3 percent, while Panasonic is down 0.6 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is lower by 0.5 percent.

Automaker Toyota is up 0.2 percent and Honda is adding 0.4 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are rising more than 1 percent each.

In the oil sector, Inpex is higher by 0.3 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is advancing almost 1 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

In the tech space, Advantest and Kyocera are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Alps Electric is down 0.6 percent.

Among the market's best performers, Pacific Metals, Mitsui Mining & Smelting and Nippon Sheet Glass are rising more than 4 percent each.

On the flip side, Nippon Light Metal Holdings is declining almost 3 percent, while Yamato Holdings and Mitsui E&S Holdings are down more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, the Cabinet Office said that the total value of core machine orders in Japan dropped 3.9 percent on month in March, coming in at 856.6 billion yen. That missed expectations for a decline of 3.0 percent following the 2.1 percent increase in February.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 110 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are also higher, while Shanghai, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong are all lower.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated, but managed to close higher on Wednesday, partly reflecting a positive reaction to earnings news from Macy's. Buying interest was somewhat subdued, however, with geopolitical uncertainty keeping some traders on the sidelines after North Korea threatened to cancel an historic meeting between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

The Dow rose 62.52 points or 0.3 percent to 24,768.93, the Nasdaq advanced 46.67 points or 0.6 percent to 7,398.30 and the S&P 500 climbed 11.01 points or 0.4 percent to 2,722.46.

The major European markets showed modest moves to the upside on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both crept up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil futures nudged higher Wednesday amid a large decrease in U.S. oil stockpiles. June WTI oil inched up by $0.18 or nearly 0.3 percent to settle at $71.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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