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Asian Markets In Negative Territory


Asian stock markets are in negative territory on Tuesday, extending losses from the previous session amid concerns about the global economic impact of the fast-spreading Wuhan coronavirus.

Health authorities in China said that the coronavirus outbreak has killed 106 people and infected more than 4,500 people. The virus has now spread to more than ten countries, including the U.S., France, Australia and Canada.

The Australian market, which resumed trading after a long holiday weekend, is notably lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 99.30 points or 1.40 percent to 6,991.20, after touching a low of 6,964.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 106.10 points or 1.47 percent to 7,097.10. The Australian market was closed on Monday for a holiday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is tumbling almost 8 percent, Rio Tinto is lower by more than 4 percent and BHP is losing almost 4 percent.

Oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices fell for a fifth straight session overnight. Oil Search is losing more than 7 percent, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are declining almost 3 percent each.

Travel stocks were weighed down by worries about the continued spread of the coronavirus. Webjet is tumbling more than 10 percent, Qantas Airways is falling more than 4 percent, and Flight Centre Travel Group is losing 4 percent.

Air New Zealand said it expects to incur one-time charges, including reorganization costs, of up to NZ$50 million in fiscal 2020. The airline's shares are also declining more than 4 percent.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank - are lower in a range of 1.2 percent to 1.6 percent.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are higher after gold prices move higher overnight on safe-haven appeal. Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining edging up 0.1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar was quoted at $0.6761 on Tuesday, down from $0.6846 on Friday.

The Japanese market is sharply lower for a second straight day and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the weak cues from Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 218.67 points or 0.94 percent to 23,124.84, after falling to a low of 23,115.15 earlier.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp. and Fast Retailing are adding 0.3 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Tokyo Electron is declining 2 percent and Advantest is declining almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are declining more than 1 percent each, while Canon is lower by almost 1 percent and Panasonic is down 0.3 percent.

Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is lower by almost 2 percent and Toyota Motor is down 0.5 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is losing almost 3 percent and Inpex is lower by almost 2 percent.

Among the other major decliners, Pacific Metals and Casio Computer are losing more than 3 percent each, while Ebara Corp is lower by more than 2 percent.

On the economic front, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were up 2.1 percent on year in December, in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous month. Producer prices were flat on month after adding 0.2 percent in November.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea is losing more than 3 percent, Singapore is lower by more than 2 percent and Malaysia is declining more than 1 percent. New Zealand and Indonesia are also lower. The markets in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Monday amid growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in China. The continued spread of the coronavirus weighed on travel, tourism and hospitality stocks as well as companies with major exposure to China.

The Dow tumbled 453.93 points or 1.5 percent to 28,535.80, the Nasdaq plunged 175.60 points or 1.9 percent to 9,139.31 and the S&P 500 slumped 51.84 points or 1.6 percent to 3,243.63.

The major European markets also showed significant moves to the downside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 2.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both plummeted by 2.7 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Monday, extending losses to a fifth straight session, as worries about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China on the global economy raised concerns about the outlook for energy demand. WTI crude for March ended down $1.05, or about 1.9 percent, at 53.14 a barrel, the lowest settlement price since October 15.

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