Asian Markets Mostly Higher Amid Cautious Trades

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Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday, as traders are optimistic on a faster global economic recovery after last week's reiterations from the U.S. on a positive outlook for the economy and are cautiously positive ahead of U.S. earnings season and release of key inflation data. However, the cues overnight from Wall Street were weak. Asian stocks ended lower on Monday.

Traders also continue to be cautious amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the region and the possible restrictions on economic activity in several markets.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday, reversing losses of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,000 mark, despite the weak cues overnight from Wall Street. The market is supported by gains in materials, financials, gold miners and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 1.30 points or 0.02 percent to 6,975.30, after touching a high of 6,998.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 4.7 points or 0.07 percent to 7,229.90. Australian markets closed lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and OZ Minerals are edging down 0.5 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search and Origin Energy are losing almost 1 percent each, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are edging down 0.3 percent each.

Among the big four banks, Westpac, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay is gaining almost 2 percent, Appen in adding almost 1 percent and WiseTech Global is up more than 2 percent.

Gold miners are higher, with Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining edging up 0.5 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is gaining more than 2 percent.

In economic news, National Australia Bank will release March numbers for business confidence and the Housing Industry Association will release new home sales numbers for March. In February, the NAB index had a score of +16, while home sales jumped 22.9 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.761 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Tuesday, reversing losses of the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index just above the 29,800 level, despite the weak cues overnight from Wall Street. The market is supported by gains across all sectors as the government enhances their response to tackle the surging coronavirus cases.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,848.41, up 309.68 points or 1.05 percent, after touching a high of 29,879.59 earlier. Japanese shares closed lower on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is up more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is up almost 2 percent and Toyota is gaining more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are up almost 1 percent each. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.5 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are weak, with Panasonic and Sony gaining almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is up more than 1 percent. Canon is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Nippon Steel Gloss and Takashimaya are gaining more than 5 percent each, while Shiseido is adding almost 5 percent and Yokohama Rubber is gaining more than 4 percent. and Ebara are rising more than 3 percent each. AGC is up almost 4 percent, while Kubota and Hitachi are advancing more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, TDK is losing almost 3 percent and Mitsui OSK Lines is down more than 2 percent. Yamato Holdings and Tokyu are declining almost 2 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 109 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Korea are gaining around 1 percent, while Singapore, Taiwan and China are gaining between 0.1 and 0.8 percent. Malaysia and Indonesia are bucking the trend and are lower.

On Wall Street, stocks ended lower on Monday with investors largely making cautious moves as they looked ahead to earnings season and the release of some crucial economic data this week. A lack of fresh triggers after the market rose to record highs last week contributed as well to the somewhat sluggish movements in the market.

The major averages all ended in negative territory although the downside was not any significantly pronounced. The Dow ended down 55.20 points or 0.16 percent at 33,745.40. The S&P 500 edged down 0.81 points or 0.02 percent to settle at 4,127.99 and the tech-laden Nasdaq settled lower by 50.19 points or 0.36 percent at 13,850.00.

Meanwhile, the major European markets also closed lower on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended 0.39% down, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 both ended lower by 0.13%.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Monday as progress in coronavirus vaccination rollout and reports about an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities helped lift oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.38 or 0.6 percent at $59.70 a barrel.

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