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Asian Markets In Positive Territory

asianmarkets2 dec19 31may20 lt

Asian stock markets, led by Hong Kong, are notably higher on Monday following the mostly positive cues from Wall Street Friday on relief that U.S. President Donald Trump did not announce new tariffs or a withdrawal from the phase one trade agreement with China. In addition, official data released over the weekend showed that China's factory activity expanded in May.

The Australian market recovered after a weak start on hopes about an economic recovery following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in four Australian states today.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 45.90 points or 0.80 percent to 5,801.60, after touching a low of 5,705.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 47.70 points or 0.81 percent to 5,919.90. Australian stocks closed notably lower on Friday.

The big four banks - Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking - are down in a range of 0.5 percent to 1.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is declining almost 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down 0.4 percent, while Santos is rising 0.6 percnt after crude oil prices gained more than 5 percent on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are advancing more than 1 percent each.

Gold miners are mixed despite gold prices rising on Friday. Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent while Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.1 percent.

Vicinity Centres said it will raise A$1.4 billion through a share sale to provide a buffer against the uncertainty arising from COVID-19 and will not pay any dividend to shareholders for the six months ending June 30. The retail property group's shares are in a trading halt.

On the economic front, Australia will see Performance of Manufacturing Index numbers from the Australian Industry Group today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6675, compared to Friday's close of $0.6655.

The Japanese market is also rising, while the safe-haven yen weakened.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 208.03 points or 0.95 percent to 22,085.92, after touching a high of 22,103.61 earlier. Japanese shares ended lower on Friday to snap a four-day winning streak.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is rising 3 percent and Fast Retailing is advancing more than 2 percent.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Sony is rising 0.4 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.2 percent and Canon is edging up 0.1 percent, while Panasonic is down 0.1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 5 percent and Tokyo Electron is higher by more than 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda Motor is adding almost 1 percent, while Toyota is down 0.1 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is down 0.2 percent and Japan Petroleum is lower by 0.1 percent even as crude oil prices gained 0.5 percent on Friday.

Among the major gainers, Toyo Seikan Group is rising 6 percent, Toho Zinc is gaining almost 5 percent and Screen Holdings is higher by more than 4 percent.

On the flip side, Daiichi Sankyo is losing more than 5 percent, Mitsui Mining & Smelting is lower by almost 4 percent and JGC Holdings is down more than 3 percent.

In economic news, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to contract in May, and at a faster rate, with a manufacturing PMI score of 38.4. That's down from 41.9 in April, and it moves further beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The Ministry of Finance said that Japan all-industry capital expenditures were up 4.3 percent on year in the first quarter of 2020, coming in at 16.352 trillion yen. That follows the 3.5 percent annual decline in the three months prior.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 107 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is rising more than 3 percent, while Shanghai and Singapore are rising almost 2 percent each. South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia are higher by more than 1 percent each. The markets in New Zealand and Indonesia are closed for public holidays.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mostly higher after seeing showed wild swings over the course of the trading day on Friday. Trump lashed out at China in his brief remarks, but traders seemed relieved that he did not announce new tariffs or a withdrawal from the phase one trade agreement. Following China's recent move to approve a controversial security law for Hong Kong, Trump said he is directing his administration to remove special exemptions for the city. Trump also revealed that he is terminating the U.S.' relationship with the World Health Organization, claiming China has total control of the agency.

The Dow slipped into the red in the final minutes of trading, edging down 17.53 points or 0.1 percent to 25,383.11. The Nasdaq jumped 120.88 points or 1.3 percent to 9,489.87 and the S&P 500 climbed 14.58 points or 0.5 percent to 3,044.31.

The major European markets all moved to the downside on Friday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index plunged by 2.3 percent, while the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Friday, on hopes of a pickup in energy demand and expectations that major oil producers will extend output cuts beyond June 2020. WTI crude for July gained $1.78 or about 5.3 percent at $35.49 a barrel.

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