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Asian Markets In Positive Territory

asiancommentary aug16 15nov20 lt

Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Monday following the gains on Wall Street Friday as well as buoyed by upbeat GDP data from Japan and industrial output data from China.

Investors also reacted positively to news that fifteen Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, China and South Korea, have signed a regional trade deal known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP.

The Australian market rose more than 1 percent following the gains on Wall Street Friday and on news that Australia has signed onto the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP. However, the stock exchange halted trading in late-morning trade, citing market data issues.

The Australian Securities Exchange said it has paused equity market trading while it investigates market data issues. The stock exchange operator apologized for the disruption and said it is working to rectify the issue as soon as possible.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index added 79.10 points or 1.23 percent to 6,484.30, off a high of 6,487.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index was up 77.70 points or 1.18 percent to 6,687.00. Australian stocks closed slightly lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group rose 2 percent, Rio Tinto advanced almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals added almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks were higher even as crude oil prices fell on Friday. Oil Search climbed almost 3 percent, Santos was higher by almost 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum added more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac were higher in a range of 1.4 percent to 1.9 percent, while ANZ Banking gained almost 3 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners were mixed after gold prices rose Friday. Evolution Mining edged up 0.3 percent, while Newcrest Mining declined 0.1 percent.

The Japanese market is advancing following the gains on Wall Street Friday and buoyed by data that showed that the Japanese economy grew for the first time in four quarters.

Investors also reacted positively to news that fifteen Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 417.38 points or 1.64 percent to 25,803.25 after touching a high of 25,815.30 earlier. Japanese shares ended lower on Friday to snap an eight-day winning streak.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is advancing more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is rising almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 5 percent and Advantest is rising more than 3 percent.

The major exporters are higher despite a stronger yen. Panasonic is gaining more than 4 percent, Canon is rising almost 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.5 percent and Sony is up 0.4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising almost 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is rising more than 3 percent and Toyota is advancing more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, T&D Holdings is gaining more than 8 percent, Japan Post is rising almost 8 percent and Yokohama Rubber is climbing more than 7 percent. Mitsui Fudosan is higher by almost 6 percent.

Conversely, Z Holdings is losing more than 3 percent.

In economic news, the Cabinet Office said in Monday's preliminary report that Japan's gross domestic product jumped 21.4 percent on year in the third quarter of 2020. That exceeded expectations for an annualized jump of 18.9 percent following the 28.8 percent plunge in the previous three months.

Japan also will see final September figures for industrial production today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 104 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea is rising almost 2 percent, while Singapore and Taiwan are advancing more than 1 percent each. Shanghai, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong are also higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher on Friday, partly reflecting a positive reaction to earnings news from big-name companies like Cisco and Disney. The markets also seemed to benefit from news that President Donald Trump's campaign continued to face setbacks in efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election, eliminating some of the lingering uncertainty about the outcome. Traders also continued to express optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine even as new cases in the U.S. spiked to another new record high.

The Dow surged up 399.64 points or 1.4 percent to 29,479.81, the Nasdaq jumped 119.70 points or 1 percent to 11,829.29 and the S&P 500 spiked 48.14 points or 1.4 percent to 3,585.15.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slipped by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower on Friday, weighed down by concerns over excess supply and a weak outlook for energy demand due to rising coronavirus cases across the world. WTI crude for December delivery slumped $0.99 or about 2.4 percent to $40.13 a barrel.

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