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Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

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Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street as traders remain worried about the pace of global economic recovery amid a renewed spike in coronavirus cases in the region, with restrictions and lockdowns in several areas. Markets in China and Japan are closed for holidays. Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading in positive territory on Tuesday, extending the gains of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark near 14-month highs as traders await the Reserve Bank of Australia monetary policy decision later in the day. Big miners and energy stocks are driving the market, partially offset by the retreat by financial and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 20.50 points or 0.29 percent to 7,049.30, after touching a high of 7,059.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 17.80 points or 0.24 percent to 7,304.60. Australian markets ended slightly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group, OZ Minerals and Rio Tinto are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.4 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher after crude oil prices jumped. Oil Search and Origin Energy are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are adding more than 1 percent each. Beach Energy is gaining more than 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is flat, while Westpac and ANZ Banking are losing almost 1 percent each. National Australia Bank is edging down 0.5 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay and Appen are losing almost 1 percent each, while WiseTech Global is down almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are higher after gold prices climbed overnight. Newcrest Mining is gaining almost 2 percent, while Northern Star Resources and Resolute Mining are up almost 5 percent each. Evolution Mining is adding almost 3 percent.

In other news, Treasury Wine Estates inked a deal with America's second-largest drinks distributor Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) to expand the reach of its wine labels throughout the U.S. market. Treasury Wine Estates stock is up almost 2 percent

Shares in Super Retail Group is up almost 4 percent after the outdoors retailing collective reported a 28 percent rise in total like-for-like sales across the first 44 weeks of the 2021 financial year. Sales also increased 26 percent from last year.

Shares in Flight centre are plunging almost 5 percent after the travel agency revealed that it is on track for an underlying loss of around $250 million in the second half, despite rising revenues. It is expected return to profit next year and ruled out dividend payments next year.

In economic news, Australia posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$5.574 billion in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said on Tuesday. That was shy of expectations for a surplus of A$8 billion following the upwardly revised A$7.595 billion surplus in February. Exports were down A$681 million or 2 percent on month to A$38.274 billion after slipping a downwardly revised 1.3 percent in the previous month. Imports rose A$1.340 billion or 4.0 percent on month to A$32.700 billion after advancing a downwardly revised 4.7 percent a month earlier (originally 5 percent).

The ABS also said the total value of owner-occupied home loans in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent on month in March, coming in at A$22.4 billion. That follows the 1.8 percent decline in February. Overall home loans rose 5.5 percent to A$30.2 billion, while the value of investment lending jumped 12.7 percent on month. On a yearly basis, owner-occupied home loans surged 55.6 percent and investment lending spiked 54.3 percent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will also wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The RBA is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at the record low 0.10 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.774 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is closed for Greenery Day on Tuesday. The market will be closed tomorrow also. Japanese stocks closed significantly lower on Friday.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia are up between 0.2 and 0.6 percent. Taiwan is losing 2.2 percent, while Singapore and South Korea are down between 0.2 and 0.5 percent. China is closed for Labor Day.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Monday, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq bucked the uptrend. The advance on the day lifted the Dow back within striking distance of last month's record highs.

The major averages finished the day mixed. While the Nasdaq fell 67.56 points or 0.5 percent to 13,895.12, the Dow climbed 238.38 points or 0.7 percent to 34,113.23 and the S&P 500 rose 11.49 points or 0.3 percent to 4,192.66.

Meanwhile, most European stocks moved to the upside on the day, with the U.K. markets closed for a holiday. The German DAX Index advanced by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures closed higher on Monday amid hopes energy demand will increase in the U.S. following the reopening of businesses ahead of the summer, while a weak dollar also contributed to oil's advance. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended up by $0.91 or 1.4 percent at $64.49 a barrel.

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