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Asian Markets Mostly Lower Amid Cautious Trades


Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Monday following the modest losses on Wall Street Friday amid worries about tensions in the Middle East and on caution ahead of the G-20 summit in Japan later this week. U.S. President Donald Trump is due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in an effort to revive U.S.-China trade talks.

The Australian market is declining following the modest losses on Wall Street Friday amid worries about tensions in the Middle East. Stocks are lower across the board.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 23.50 points or 0.35 percent to 6,627.30, just off a low of 6,625.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 24.60 points or 0.37 percent to 6,709.70. Australian stocks closed lower on Friday.

In the mining space, Fortescue Metals is lower by almost 1 percent, BHP Group is declining 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are also weak despite gold prices edging higher overnight. Evolution Mining is losing almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.4 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while ANZ Banking is edging up 0.1 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is edging down 0.1 percent and Santos is lower by 0.6 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is advancing 0.7 percent after crude oil prices rose on Friday.

Metcash reported a turnaround to profit in the full year, while underlying earnings declined 3 percent due to lower food earnings and higher finance costs. The IGA supermarket supplier's shares are losing more than 6 percent.

Coles Group is lower by almost 3 percent, while Wesfarmers and Woolworths are declining almost 1 percent each.

Ausdrill said its subsidiary has won a five-year, A$800 million underground mining services contract from Khoemacau Copper Mining at a Botswana mine. The company's shares are gaining almost 6 percent.

GrainCorp. said it will appoint Graham Bradley as chairman of its new malt business if the planned spin-off of the unit proceeds. The bulk grain handler's shares are lower by 0.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6951, up from $0.6922 on Friday.

The Japanese market is modestly lower and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the weak cues from Wall Street Friday amid worries about tensions in the Middle East. Investors are also cautious as they look ahead to the Trump-Xi Jinping meeting at the G-20 summit later this week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is lower by 24.47 points or 0.12 percent to 21,234.17, after touching a low of 21,185.67 in early trades.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is up 0.3 percent and Fast Retailing is adding 0.2 percent. In the auto space, Honda Motor is rising 0.4 percent and Toyota Motor is edging up 0.1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric and Panasonic are lower by almost 1 percent each, while Canon is adding 0.2 percent and Sony is advancing more than 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Tokyo Electron is losing 2 percent and Advantest is down 0.4 percent. In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is adding 0.2 percent while Inpex is lower by 0.6 percent.

Among the major gainers, JGC Corp. is rising almost 3 percent, while Fukuoka Financial and Daiichi Sankyo are all higher by more than 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Familymart UNY is losing almost 3 percent and Sky Perfect JSAT is lower by more than 2 percent.

In economic news, Japan will provide final April figures for its leading and coincident indexes, as well as May results for supermarket sales today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 107 yen range on Monday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly lower on Friday in choppy trading as traders seemed cautious amid escalating between tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Traders were also looking ahead to next week's G-20 summit in Japan, where Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to meet in an effort to revive trade talks.

The Dow edged down 34.04 points or 0.1 percent to 26,719.13, the Nasdaq slipped 19.63 points or 0.2 percent to 8,031.71 and the S&P 500 dipped 3.72 points or 0.1 percent to 2,950.46.

The major European markets also saw modest weakness on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Friday, extending gains from previous session, as an escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran raised concerns about a disruption in global crude supplies. WTI crude for August added $0.36 or 0.6 percent to close at $57.43 a barrel.

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