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Asian Markets Mixed After Brexit Deal Defeat


Asian stock markets are mixed on Wednesday following the overnight gains on Wall Street and as investors digested news that the UK House of Commons has voted down Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, which adds more uncertainty about the UK's exit from the European Union. Investors now focus on a no-confidence vote on May's government by Britain's parliament on Wednesday.

The Australian market is modestly higher in choppy trade. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 6.10 points or 0.10 percent to 5,820.70, after touching a high of 5,824.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 6.20 points or 0.11 percent to 5,878.00. Australian stocks rose notably on Tuesday.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. counterparts higher. Language tech company Appen is gaining almost 4 percent and WiseTech Global is rising more than 3 percent.

The big four banks are also advancing. ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are up in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major miners are weak. Rio Tinto is lower by almost 1 percent, while BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are declining more than 1 percent each.

Gold miners are sharply lower after gold prices fell overnight. Evolution Mining is lower by more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is declining almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly lower despite a more than 3 percent increase in crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum is down 0.3 percent and Oil Search is declining almost 1 percent, while Santos is rising 0.7 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will see January results for the consumer confidence index from Westpac today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7201, down from $0.7214 on Tuesday.

The Japanese market is declining as investors digested news that the UK House of Commons defeated Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal. Weaker than expected Japanese core machine orders data for November also dampened investor sentiment. In addition, a stronger safe-haven yen weighed on shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 174.83 points or 0.85 percent to 20,380.46, after falling to a low of 20,374.08 earlier. Japanese shares climbed to close near a one-month high on Tuesday.

The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Panasonic is adding 0.3 percent and Canon is up 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.3 percent and Sony is losing almost 2 percent.

In the tech sector, Tokyo Electron is declining more than 1 percent and Advantest is lower by more than 2 percent.

Among the major automakers, Honda is down more than 1 percent and Toyota is losing 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by almost 2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is declining more than 1 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is declining 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is lower by almost 2 percent despite a more than 3 percent increase in crude oil prices.

Among the other major gainers, Yamato Holdings, Toho and Konami Holdings are rising more than 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Meiji Holdings and Taiyo Yuden are losing almost 5 percent each, while Olympus, Showa Denko and Shiseido Co. are lower by more than 4 percent each.

On the economic front, the Cabinet Office said that core machine orders in Japan were roughly flat on month in November. That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 3.0 percent and down sharply from 7.6 percent in October.

The Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were down 0.6 percent on month in December, missing forecasts for a decline of 0.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 108 yen-range on Wednesday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Tuesday. The Nasdaq benefited from a significant advance by shares of Netflix, after the company revealed the biggest increase in subscription prices since launching its service twelve years ago. Tech giant Apple also posted a notable gain on news a German court has thrown out a parent lawsuit filed against the company by chipmaker Qualcomm.

While the Nasdaq soared 117.92 points or 1.7 percent to 7,023.83, the S&P 500 jumped 27.69 points or 1.1 percent to 2,610.30 and the Dow climbed 155.75 points or 0.7 percent to 24,065.59.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices surged higher on Tuesday, buoyed by news that the Chinese government will provide more stimulus to revive the country's growth that has slowed down significantly due to the impact of the ongoing trade war. WTI crude rose $1.60 or 3.2 percent to close at $52.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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