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Asian Markets A Sea Of Red Amid Pandemic Woes

asiancommentary1 oct01 20apr21 lt

Asian stock markets are in a sea of red and sharply lower on Wednesday, following broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders are rattled amid the continuing surge in the new wave of coronavirus infections in the region, the increasing restrictions on economic activity and the possibility of subsequent lockdown measures in several markets. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday.

The Australian stock market is significantly lower on Wednesday, extending the losses of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,000 mark, following weak cues overnight from Wall Street. Stocks across all sectors are trading weak, particularly energy and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 84.00 points or 1.20 percent to 6,933.80, after hitting a low of 6,905.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 88.20 points or 1.21 percent to 7,193.90. Australian stocks ended lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is losing almost 2 percent, while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are losing more than 1 percent each.

BHP shares are down despite reporting record-breaking quarterly output of iron ore from its mines in Western Australia. Meanwhile, total iron ore production declined 2 percent to 66.7 million tonnes from last year on a 100 per cent basis.

In the tech space, Appen is losing more than 3 percent, while WiseTech Global and Afterpay are down more than 2 percent each.

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

Gold miners are higher after the gold price climbed. Evolution Mining, Resolute Mining and Newcrest Mining are adding more than 1 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is down almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks were weak after crude oil prices tumbled. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are losing more than 2 percent, while Santos is declining almost 3 percent.

Energy giant Santos has renewed its gas supply deal with Rio Tinto for a new deal starting in 2021. Rio Tinto will buy about 15 petajoules of gas from Santos under the new deal.

Shares in Nuix are tumbling almost 15 percent after the Data analytics group confirmed it will not meet its prospectus guidance just months after its market debut. It said revenue would be below prospectus guidance but underlying earnings will be higher.

Payments company Splitit has reported a 292 percent surge in its gross revenue to US$2.7 million in the first quarter, as payment volumes also rose sharply. It shares are down almost 5 percent.

In economic news, the value of retail sales in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent on month in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday - coming in at A$30.724 billion. That beat expectations for an increase of 1.0 percent following the 0.8 percent decline in February. On a yearly basis, retail sales gained 2.3 percent in March following the 9.1 percent annual spike in February.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.772 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Wednesday, extending the sharp losses of the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index losing more than 600 points to go below the 28,500 level, as traders continue to be rattled by the ongoing surge in coronavirus infections and the related restrictions on economic activity.

Japan reported nationwide daily infections of around 4500. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga decided to declare another state of emergency in Osaka Prefecture while Tokyo is set to seek the same move in the coming days.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,462.20, down 638.18 points or 2.19 percent, after hitting a low of 28,432.97 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 3 percent and Toyota is down almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron and Advantest are down more than 2 percent each, while Screen Holdings is losing almost 4 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is declining more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing more than 3 percent.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic is losing almost 4 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down more than 3 percent, while Sony and Canon are declining almost 3 percent each.

Among the other major losers, JFE Holdings, Nippon Steel, JGC Holdings and Mitsubishi Motors are losing more than 5 percent each. IHI, Rakuten Group, Kobe Steel, Taiheiyo Cement, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nippon Light Metal and Mazda Motor are all declining almost 5 percent each. Sharp, NTN, Suzuki Motor and Mitsui E&S Holdings are down more than 4 percent each.

Conversely, there are not many gainers.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is down 1.9 percent, South Korea is dropping 1.6 percent, Singapore is declining 1.3 percent and New Zealand is losing 1.2 percent, while China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each

On Wall Street, stocks saw further downside during the trading day on Tuesday following the pullback seen in the previous session. The major averages all showed notable moves to the downside on the day.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels of the day but still closed firmly in negative territory. The Dow slid 256.33 points or 0.8 percent to 33,821.30, the Nasdaq slumped 128.50 points or 0.9 percent to 13,786.27 and the S&P 500 fell 28.32 points or 0.7 percent to 4,134.94.

The major European markets also showed notable moves to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped by 1.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 2.1 percent.

Crude oil prices slipped on Tuesday amid rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to surging coronavirus infections in India. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures May ended down $0.94 or 1.5 percent at $62.44 a barrel, on the expiration day. WTI Contracts for June closed lower by $0.76 or 1.2 percent at $62.67 a barrel.

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