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Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

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Asian stock markets are mixed on Friday following the lackluster cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors turned cautious as they looked ahead to the upcoming corporate earnings season and the release of China's trade data due later in the day. Lingering uncertainty about the global economic outlook and a potential U.S.-China trade deal also kept investors on the sidelines.

The Australian market is higher, rebounding from the previous session's losses despite the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Stocks are higher across the board, with banks among the leading gainers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 43.20 points or 0.70 percent to 6,241.90, off a high of 6242.30 earlier, while the broader All Ordinaries Index is up 39.30 points or 0.62 percent to 6,333.40. Australian shares fell modestly on Thursday.

The big four banks are notably higher. ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are rising in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.9 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is adding 0.4 percent and BHP Group is up 0.2 percent on higher iron ore prices.

Oil stocks are also higher despite a fall in crude oil prices overnight. Oil Search is advancing almost 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is rising 0.7 percent and Santos is adding 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Appen is rising almost 2 percent and Xero is higher by more than 1 percent, while WiseTech Global is declining more than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are weak after gold prices tumbled overnight. Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.1 percent and Evolution Mining is lower by almost 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7117, down from $0.7161 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is rising despite the lackluster cues overnight from Wall Street ahead of the upcoming corporate earnings season. A weaker yen and optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal helped lift investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 85.69 points or 0.39 percent to 21,797.07, after touching a high of 21,832.18 earlier. Japanese shares ended a choppy session slightly higher on Thursday.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is rising more than 3 percent, Sony is advancing more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is up 0.4 percent, while Canon is edging down 0.1 percent.

The Nikkei business review reported that Panasonic and electric car company Tesla have frozen a plan to boost capacity of the Gigafactory 1 battery plant in the U.S. state of Nevada due to weak demand for the vehicles.

Shares of Toshiba Corp. are losing more than 3 percent after the Japanese conglomerate said that China's ENN Ecological Holdings Co. has scrapped an agreement to take over Toshiba's U.S. liquefied natural gas business.

In the tech sector, Advantest is advancing almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is up 0.3 percent. Among the major automakers, Honda and Toyota are adding almost 1 percent each.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding more than 1 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is losing more than 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is falling almost 3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Fast Retailing is gaining 7 percent, Chiyoda Corp. is rising almost 5 percent and T&D Holdings is higher by more than 3 percent.

On the flip side, Ricoh Co. and Cyberagent are lower by more than 3 percent each, while Idemitsu Kosan is losing almost 3 percent.

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

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed little changed on Thursday in volatile trade as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves amid uncertainty about the upcoming earnings season, with some analysts expecting the results to be disappointing. Lingering uncertainty about the global economic outlook and a potential U.S.-China trade deal also kept traders on the sidelines.

While the S&P 500 inched up 0.11 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,888.32, the Dow edged down 14.11 points or 0.1 percent to 26,143.05 and the Nasdaq dipped 16.88 points or 0.2 percent to 7,947.36.

The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures drifted down sharply on Thursday on worries about a possible drop in demand for crude due to slowing global economy. WTI crude for May fell $1.03 or 1.6 percent at $63.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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