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Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend

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Asian stock markets are mixed on Thursday amid continuing worries over global trade tensions and emerging market woes. News that U.S. President Donald Trump intends to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports as soon as a public comment period ends on Thursday also weighed on investor sentiment. Crude oil prices extended losses in Asian trades after falling overnight.

The Australian market is notably lower following the mostly negative cues from Wall Street.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 55.00 points or 0.88 percent to 6,175.40, off a low of 6,172.60. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 55.80 points or 0.88 percent to 6,283.40.

Mining stocks are mostly higher. Fortescue Metals is advancing more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is adding 0.5 percent, while BHP Billiton is losing almost 2 percent.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining is lower by more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down more than 2 percent despite higher gold prices.

In the banking sector, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are declining in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent.

Oil stocks are also lower after a fall in crude oil prices. Oil Search is declining 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is down almost 1 percent and Santos is lower by 0.5 percent.

Graincorp has raised its full-year profit outlook despite the drought in eastern Australia. The company's shares are rising more than 2 percent.

Sigma Healthcare reported a nearly 52 percent fall in first-half profit due to restructuring costs and lower revenue. The pharmaceutical supplier's shares are losing more than 7 percent.

Investa Office Fund said Blackstone is prepared to raise its buyout offer by 3.2 percent to exceed the bid by Canada's Oxford Properties Group and it continues to recommend the Blackstone offer. The company's shares are in a trading halt.

On the economic front, Australia will release its trade data for the month of July today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar. The local currency was quoted at $0.7203 on Thursday, up from $0.7174 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is extending losses from the previous session on a stronger yen and following the mostly negative cues from Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 59.00 points or 0.26 percent to 22,521.83, after touching a low of 22,416.63 in early trades.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Canon is down 0.4 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is declining 0.5 percent and Panasonic is losing more than 1 percent, while Sony is adding 0.4 percent.

Shares of video game company Nintendo are lower by more than 4 percent as the company prepares to reveal more details about games for its Switch and 3DS platforms later on Thursday.

In the auto space, Toyota is losing almost 1 percent, while Honda is adding 0.2 percent. Toyota said it has recalled more than 1 million hybrid cars globally due to risk of fire, including 554,000 vehicles in Japan.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is rising 0.4 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.3 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is advancing almost 2 percent, while Japan Petroleum is edging lower by 0.1 percent.

Among the major gainers, Tokyo Dome is gaining almost 5 percent and Kawasaki Kishen Kaisha is rising more than 2 percent. Nippon Suisan, Ube Industries and Mitsubishi Materials are all advancing almost 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Furukawa Co. is falling almost 9 percent, Screen Holdings is losing almost 5 percent and Sumco Corp. is down almost 4 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 111 yen-range on Thursday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed mostly lower on Wednesday although the Dow managed to close slightly higher. Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and its key partners contributed to the continued weakness on Wall Street. A report from Reuters said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated Canada will not bend on key demands regarding NAFTA in talks with the U.S. this week.

While the Dow inched up 22.51 points or 0.1 percent to 25,974.99, the Nasdaq tumbled 96.07 points or 1.2 percent to 7,995.17 and the S&P 500 fell 8.12 points or 0.3 percent to 2,888.60.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1 percent, while the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices fell over 1 percent on Wednesday as a tropical storm hitting the U.S. Gulf coast weakened and deviated away from oil producing areas. WTI crude for October delivery tumbled $1.15 or 1.65 percent to $68.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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