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Asian Markets Rebound Despite Trade War Fears

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Asian stock markets are higher on Thursday, recovering from the sharp losses in the previous session, despite the weak cues overnight from Wall Street as well as lower commodity prices amid escalating U.S.-China trade tensions. The Chinese market is leading the rebound. Crude oil prices also advanced in Asian trades after falling sharply overnight.

The Australian market is advancing, as gains made by banks helped offset weakness in resources stocks.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 31.70 points or 0.51 percent to 6,247.30, off a high of 6,249.00. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 27.60 points or 0.44 percent to 6,327.80. Australian shares closed lower on Wednesday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 0.9 percent to 1.2 percent.

The major miners are weak after copper and iron ore prices fell overnight. BHP Billiton is losing almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is down 0.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are also losing after a fall in gold prices. Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is down 0.2 percent.

Oil stocks were dragged down by a 5 percent fall in crude oil prices overnight. Oil Search is down more than 2 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are declining more than 1 percent each.

A2 Milk said its unaudited full-year revenue grew 68 percent and expects further revenue growth in the next fiscal year. However, the company's shares are declining 0.3 percent.

In economic news, Australia will see the forecast for consumer prices in July today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at US$0.7362, down from US$0.7410 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is notably higher, recovering from sharp losses in the previous session.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 250.93 points or 1.14 percent to 22,183.14. Japanese shares ended lower on Wednesday to snap a three-day winning streak.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent and Canon is losing 0.6 percent, while Sony is advancing more than 1 percent and Panasonic is rising 0.2 percent.

In the auto sector, Honda is down 0.4 percent, while Toyota is rising 0.5 percent amid news that the company will float $2 billion worth of dollar-denominated bonds later in July to help fund its investments.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is up 0.2 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down less than 0.1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex and Japan Petroleum Exploration are losing more than 4 percent each after crude oil prices fell overnight.

Among the market's best performers, Eisai Co. is gaining more than 8 percent, while Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is rising almost 5 percent and Terumo Corp. is higher by almost 3 percent.

Shares of SoftBank are rising almost 5 percent after U.S. investment fund Tiger Global said Wednesday that it has acquired a stake of more than $1 billion in the company.

On the flip side, JXTG Holdings is losing almost 4 percent, Pacific Metals is lower by more than 3 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is down 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 112 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai is rising more than 1 percent. South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are also higher, while New Zealand is edging lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Wednesday amid renewed concerns about the economic impact of a global trade war after President Donald Trump's administration proposed new tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. China has vowed to take countermeasures in response to the new tariffs, which will not effect until after a two-month review process.

The Dow slumped 219.21 points or 0.9 percent to 24,700.45, the Nasdaq fell 42.59 points or 0.6 percent to 7,716.61 and the S&P 500 slid 19.82 points or 0.7 percent to 2,774.02.

The major European markets also showed significant moves to the downside on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both plummeted by 1.5 percent.

Crude oil futures fell sharply on Wednesday for its worst daily performance in over a year, amid concerns about an increase in supply. WTI crude for August delivery plunged $3.73 or 5 percent to $70.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In Asian trades, crude oil is adding $0.38 or 0.54 percent to $70.76.

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