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Asian Markets Rise On Stimulus Hopes

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Asian stock markets are higher on Monday following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday amid a rebound in U.S. Treasury yields and on optimism about stimulus by global central banks to prevent a global recession. In addition, higher crude oil prices boosted energy stocks.

The Australian market is advancing following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday. Investors also digested mixed corporate earnings results.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 51.40 points or 0.80 percent to 6,456.90, after touching a high of 6,467.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 51.70 points or 0.80 percent to 6,537.60. Australian markets fluctuated before finishing little changed on Friday.

Oil stocks are rising after crude oil prices rose on Friday. Oil Search is rising more than 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is higher by almost 2 percent and Santos is advancing more than 1 percent.

The big four banks are also higher. ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are adding more than 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank is higher by 0.8 percent and Westpac is up 0.5 percent.

NIB reported a 13 percent increase in full-year profit and raised its final dividend. The health insurer's shares are declining more than 2 percent.

The major miners are mostly flat. Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are edging down 0.1 percent each, while BHP Group is adding 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are lower after gold prices declined on Friday. Evolution Mining is lower by more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is down more than 1 percent.

Crown Resorts said it has reached a confidential settlement with the NSW government to end their legal dispute over a planned development that would obstruct view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the company's new Bangaroo hotel and casino. The gaming giant's shares are edging up 0.1 percent.

Lendlease Group reported a more than 40 percent fall in full-year profit, cut its final dividend and said it will sell its engineering and services unit. The property developer's shares are rising more than 8 percent.

BlueScope Steel reported a 35 percent decrease in full-year profit and projected its first-half underlying EBIT to be lower than the prior year, but maintained its final dividend. The steel producer's shares are losing more than 6 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6782, compared to $0.6783 on Friday.

The Japanese market is rising following the gains on Wall Street Friday. Investors digested data that showed Japan's trade deficit in July missed expectations.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 137.55 points or 0.67 percent to 20,556.36, after touching a high of 20,633.90 in early trades. Japanese shares closed largely unchanged in cautious trading on Friday.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Sony is adding 0.6 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is rising 0.3 percent, while Canon is down 0.7 percent and Panasonic is lower by 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is rising 0.4 percent and Tokyo Electron is advancing almost 1 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is higher by more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is up 0.5 percent. In the auto sector, Honda Motor is rising 0.4 percent and Toyota Motor is advancing 0.7 percent.

Among oil stocks, Japan Petroleum is declining more than 1 percent, while Inpex is higher by almost 1 percent after crude oil prices rose on Friday.

Among the other major gainers, FamilyMart UNY is rising more than 8 percent, while Sumco Corp., JGC Corp. and IHI Corp. are higher by almost 4 percent each.

On the flip side, Recruit Holdings is losing more than 3 percent and Nippon Express is lower by almost 3 percent.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Finance said that Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 249.6 billion yen in July. That missed expectations for a shortfall of 194.5 billion yen, following the 589.5 billion yen deficit in June.

Exports were down 1.6 percent on year, topping forecasts for a decline of 2.3 percent following the upwardly revised 6.6 percent drop in the previous month. Imports dipped an annual 1.2 percent versus forecasts for a decline of 2.3 percent following the 5.2 percent fall a month earlier.

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

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher on Friday, partly reflecting optimism about the world's central banks providing aggressive stimulus in order to prevent a global recession.

European Central Bank official Olli Rehn helped inspire confidence after expressing the need for a significant easing package in September to support the flagging eurozone economy. The expectations for more stimulus contributed to a pullback by U.S. treasuries and a subsequent increase in bond yields.

The Dow jumped 306.62 points or 1.2 percent to 25,886.01, the Nasdaq soared 129.38 points or 1.7 percent to 7,895.99 and the S&P 500 surged up 41.08 points or 1.4 percent to 2,888.68.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index jumped by 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Friday as recession fears faded a a bit amid hopes global central banks will announce further stimulus to revive economic growth. WTI crude for September ended up $0.40 or about 0.7 percent to close at $54.87 a barrel.

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