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Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

asian mixed 11jul19 lt

Asian stock markets are mixed on Friday amid renewed worries about U.S.-China trade tensions and on caution ahead of the release of China's trade date for June later today. U.S. President Donald Trump has accused China of not increasing its purchase of American farm products despite its promise to do so.

The Australian market is declining following the mixed cues from Wall Street. Investors are cautious as they looked ahead to China's trade data to be released later in the day.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 16.80 points or 0.25 percent to 6,699.30, off a low of 6,687.70. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 15.40 points or 0.23 percent to 6,790.40. Australian stocks rose on Thursday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is losing almost 2 percent, while Rio Tinto and BHP Group are declining more than 1 percent each.

The Western Australia state government has reportedly approved a plan from BHP to expand existing projects and create new mines as well as thousands of jobs over the next 50 to 100 years.

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices declined overnight. Evolution Mining is losing more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by almost 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the big four banks - ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank - are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is advancing more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.1 percent, while Santos is down 0.4 percent after .crude oil prices dipped overnight.

Charter Hall Group confirmed it has acquired Telstra's global headquarter tower in Melbourne for A$830 million. The property investor's shares are lower by 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is almost unchanged against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6976, compared to $0.6974 on Thursday.

The Japanese market slipped into negative territory after opening higher, tracking the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors also turned cautious ahead of the release of China's trade date for June later today.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 26.92 points or 0.12 percent to 21,616.61, after touching a high of 21,720.14 in early trades. Japanese shares closed higher on Thursday.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Sony is advancing 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is rising 0.7 percent and Panasonic is adding 0.4 percent and, while Canon is down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Advantest is declining more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is down 0.4 percent.

Nintendo said it will release the new Switch Lite game console, a scaled back, cheaper version of its Switch game console, on September 20 ahead of the holiday shopping season. The company's shares are edging down 0.1 percent.

In the auto space, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor are adding 0.3 percent each.
In the oil sector, Inpex is losing almost 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.4 percent after crude oil prices ended lower overnight.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is rising almost 1 percent. Fast Retailing is advancing more than 1 percent after it reported a 7 percent increase in group net profit in the nine months to May.

Among the other major losers, Yaskawa Electric is losing more than 3 percent and JGC Corp. is declining more than 2 percent.

In economic news, Japan will see final May numbers for industrial production today.

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

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Thursday in choppy trading, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reaching new record closing highs. The advance by the Dow was partly due to a jump by shares of UnitedHealth and other health insurers on news President Donald Trump is abandoning a plan to eliminate rebates from government drug plans. The proposal was the centerpiece of Trump's blueprint to lower drug costs, but faced stiff resistance from pharmacy-benefit managers.

While the Dow jumped 227.88 points or 0.9 percent to 27,088.08 and the S&P 500 rose 6.84 points or 0.2 percent to 2,999.91, the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged down 6.49 points or 0.1 percent to 8,196.04.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on Thursday. The French CAC 40 Index, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index all fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures turned weak after a solid start on Thursday, weighed down by a downward revision in demand forecast by OPEC. WTI crude for August ended down $0.23 or about 0.4 percent at $60.20 a barrel.

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