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Asian Markets Mostly Lower

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Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell tempered rate cut hopes. In a closely watched speech, Powell acknowledged that crosscurrents have re-emerged since the Fed's May meeting, but did not appear to signal the imminent interest rate cut currently being priced in by the markets.

The Australian market is declining, with stocks mostly lower across the board, following the negative cues from Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is lower by 11.00 points or 0.17 percent to 6,647.00, after touching a low of 6,637.40. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 12.30 points or 0.18 percent to 6,722.20. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Wednesday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is losing almost 1 percent, BHP Group is declining 0.3 percent and Rio Tinto is lower by 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices closed flat overnight. Newcrest Mining is declining more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down 0.5 percent.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank - are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is rising 0.6 percent, Santos is higher by 0.5 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.2 percent despite crude oil prices ending little changed overnight.

Fletcher Building has warned of lower than expected full-year earnings in Australia due to a sharp decline in the Australian residential market. The dual-listed builder's shares are lower by 0.5 percent.

Fonterra reported a 13.7 percent decline in its Australian milk production for April from a year ago due to higher input costs and farm exits in key dairy regions. The NZ-based dairy exporter's shares are unchanged.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is edging higher against the U.S dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6964, compared to $0.6960 on Tuesday.

The Japanese market is extending losses from the previous session following the weak cues from Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 74.05 points or 0.35 percent to 21,119.76, after touching a low of 21,054.35 earlier. Japanese shares retreated on Tuesday.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is advancing 1 percent, Sony is adding 0.3 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is up 0.2 percent, while Canon is losing 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Tokyo Electron is rising 2 percent and Advantest is gaining more than 4 percent. In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is down 0.3 percent, while Inpex is rising 1 percent.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has agreed to buy Bombardier's CRJ regional-jet program for $550 million. However, the company's shares are losing almost 1 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is declining more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is lower by 1 percent. In the auto space, Honda Motor is down 0.2 percent and Toyota Motor is lower by 0.4 percent.

Mitsubishi Motors said Tuesday it will relocate its North American headquarters from California to Tennessee. The automaker's shares are losing 0.6 percent.

Among the major gainers, Takashimaya Co. is rising 5 percent and Screen Holdings is higher by more than 4 percent. Taiyo Yuden and TDK Corp. are gaining more than 3 percent each.

On the flip side, FamilyMart UNY and Nippon Suisan Kaisha are declining more than 2 percent each.

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

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday, partly reflecting a negative reaction to a Conference Board report showing a substantial deterioration in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of June. Additional selling pressure was generated in reaction to comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who reiterated the Fed will "act as appropriate" to sustain the economic expansion but did not appear to signal the imminent interest rate cut currently being priced in by the markets.

The Dow slid 179.32 points or 0.7 percent to 26,548.22, the Nasdaq plunged 120.98 points or 1.5 percent to 7,884.72 and the S&P 500 tumbled 27.97 points or 1 percent to 2,917.38.

The major European markets turned in another mixed performance on Tuesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures ended little changed on Tuesday, as traders weighed demand prospects and global crude supply position, ahead of weekly oil reports. WTI crude oil futures for August edged down $0.07 or less than 0.1 percent, to close at $57.83 a barrel.

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