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Asian Markets Mostly Lower In Cautious Trade

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Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday despite the overnight rebound on Wall Street. Nevertheless, investors are cautious after the People's Bank of China set the official daily midpoint reference for the yuan at a slightly weaker than expected level. The yuan eased against the U.S. dollar in offshore trade after the currency's daily fixing.

The Australian market is advancing following the rebound on Wall Street after China's central bank took steps to stabilize the yuan. Nevertheless, investors are cautious as they digested local corporate earnings results.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 18.40 points or 0.28 percent to 6,496.50. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 21.70 points or 0.33 percent to 6,568.20. Australian stocks extended losses to a fifth straight session on Tuesday.

Gold miners are higher after gold prices rose for a third straight session overnight. Newcrest Mining is advancing almost 2 percent and Evolution Mining is rising almost 3 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay Touch is gaining almost 3 percent, WiseTech Global is up almost 1 percent and Appen is up 0.3 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are up in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.9 percent.

Commonwealth Bank said its full-year net profit fell 8 percent from last year, while its cash profit declined 4.7 percent. The bank's shares are lower by more than 1 percent.

In the mining space, BHP Group is declining 0.6 percent, Rio Tinto is down 0.3 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by 0.2 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices tumbled almost 2 percent overnight. Santos and Oil Search are losing more than 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is lower by almost 1 percent.

Suncorp Group reported an 84 percent fall in its full-year profit and said it is abandoning its so-called marketplace strategy to refocus on banking and insurance. The company's shares are rising more than 4 percent.

Transurban said its full-year profit fell 65 percent from last year and it will raise up to A$700 million to take sole ownership of Sydney's M5 West motorway. The toll road operator's shares are unchanged.

On the economic front, Australia will release June figures for home loans and July results for the Performance of Construction Index from the Australian Industry Group today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6759, compared to $0.6783 on Tuesday.

he Japanese market is extending losses from the previous session despite the overnight rebound on Wall Street, with investors remaining cautious due to the U.S.-China trade tensions even as China's central bank took steps to stabilize the yuan.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 106.19 points or 0.52 percent to 20,479.12, after touching a low of 20,438.80 in early trades. Japanese stocks closed modestly lower on Tuesday, paring losses after hitting a seven-month low earlier in the session.

The major exporters are mostly higher despite a stronger yen. Sony is advancing almost 2 percent, while Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are adding more than 1 percent each. Canon is down 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 5 percent and Tokyo Electron is declining almost 1 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is down 0.2 percent ahead of the release of its earnings results later today, while Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent. In the auto sector, Toyota Motor is up 0.2 percent, while Honda Motor is lower by more than 1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is adding 0.2 percent, while Japan Petroleum is losing more than 1 percent after crude oil prices fell overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Yokogawa Electric is gaining almost 6 percent, Chiba Bank is rising more than 4 percent and Showa Denko is higher by almost 3 percent.

On the flip side, Sumco Corp. is losing more than 9 percent and Takara Holdings is lower by more than 7 percent.

Shares of Kirin Holdings, which reported a net loss for the first half of the year and also lowered its full-year profit outlook, are losing more than 5 percent. Japan Steel Works is also lower by more than 5 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 106 yen-range on Wednesday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant rebound on Tuesday after a sell-off in the previous session, partly due to bargain hunting, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels. News the People's Bank of China set the midpoint for the Chinese currency at a stronger than expected level also helped ease investor jitters.

The Dow jumped 311.78 points or 1.2 percent to 26,029.52, the Nasdaq soared 107.23 points or 1.4 percent to 7,833.27 and the S&P 500 surged up 37.03 points or 1.3 percent to 2,881.77.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Tuesday. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index fell by 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices tumbled on Tuesday amid lingering fears about a likely drop in energy demand due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war's adverse impact on global economic growth. WTI crude for September ended lower by $1.06 or 1.9 percent at $53.63 a barrel.

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