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Asian Markets Show Mixed Trend

asiancommentary dec03 06jun21 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday as weak jobs data eased inflation concerns and prospects of additional fiscal stimulus, while COVID-19 infection concerns in several markets in the region kept the underlying mood cautious. Asian markets also closed mixed on Friday.

The much anticipated Labor Department report on Friday showed job growth in the U.S. reaccelerated in May but still fell short of economist estimates.

The Australian stock market is marginally lower in choppy trading on Monday, snapping three straight sessions of modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 hovering around the 7,300 mark near all-time highs, despite the broadly positive from Wall Street on Friday, as gains in big miners and technology stocks are offset by weakness in energy and financial stocks.

Investors remain concerned about the rising COVID-19 infection cases in the country's second-most populous state and the related lockdown. Victoria has recorded 9 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and there are now 94 active cases in the state.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 6.30 points or 0.09 percent to 7,289.10, after touching a high of 7,309.40 and a low of $7,282.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 3.60 points or 0.05 percent to 7,539.70. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and Mineral Resources are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are gaining more than 2 percent each. OZ Minerals are edging down 0.2 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed, with Oil Search edging up 0.2 percent and Santos adding 0.5 percent, while Beach energy is edging down 0.4 percent, Woodside Petroleum is losing 0.5 percent and Origin Energy is declining almost 2 percent.,

Among tech stocks, Afterpay and Appen are gaining more than 2 percent each, while WiseTech Global is adding almost 2 percent. Xero is edging up 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are higher after gold prices climbed. Evolution Mining, Resolute Mining and Northern Star Resources are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Newcrest Mining is adding more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is up almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are losing almost 1 percent each. National Australia Bank is losing almost 3 percent after news that AUSTRAC found serious ongoing breaches of counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws.

AUSTRAC widened its investigation into casino giant Crown Resorts after uncovering potential breaches of anti-money laundering laws at its Perth casino. The financial crimes watchdog added NAB, The Star, and SkyCity to the probe. Crown Resorts is losing more than 1 percent, The Star is down more than 2 percent and SkyCity is plunging more than 5 percent.

Shares in Japara Healthcare are surging almost 6 percent after the aged care provider said it will grant its suitor not-for-profit Catholic healthcare group Calvary access to due diligence for its takeover offer.

In economic news, the services sector in Australia continues to expand in May, and at a slightly faster pace, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed on Monday with a seasonally adjusted Performance of Services Index score of 61.2. That's up from 61.0 in April, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. This was the highest monthly result in the Australian PSI since October 2003.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.773 on Monday.

Japanese stock market is marginally higher after giving up some of the early gains on Monday, extending the gains of the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 falling just above the 29,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday. However, the upside is capped as traders fret about the extended COVID-19 state of emergency until June 20 in several major areas.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,005.88, up 64.36 points or 0.22 percent, after touching a high of 29,241.20 in early deals. Japanese shares ended modestly lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent, Toyota is edging down 0.4 percent, Nissan Motor is declining almost 3 percent and Mazda is down almost 1 percent.

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

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 1 percent and Screen Holdings in edging down 0.3 percent, while Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are losing more than 1 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is down almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Konami Holdings is gaining almost 6 percent, Olympus is adding almost 5 percent and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is up more than 4 percent, while TDK and Taiyo Yuden are rising almost 3 percent each. Nippon Yusen, Nexon, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ricoh, Takara Holdings and Nissan Chemical Corp. are all up more than 2 percent each.

Conversely, JFE Holdings is losing more than 6 percent, Nippon Steel is down more than 5 percent and Kobe Steel is declining almost 5 percent, while Komatsu and Mitsubishi Motors are dropping almost 4 percent each. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Hitachi Construction Machinery and Japan Steel Works are down more than 3 percent.

In economic news, Japan will see preliminary April figures for its leading and coincident economic indexes; in March, their scores were 102.5 and 93.0, respectively.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent, while China, Taiwan and Hong Kong are lower by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each. New Zealand is closed for Queen's birthday and Malaysia is closed for Yang Dipertuan Agong's birthday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a strong move to the upside during trading on Friday as traders reacted to the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report. With the upward move, the major averages ended the session at their best closing levels in a month.

The major averages all closed firmly in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. While the Nasdaq jumped 199.98 points or 1.5 percent to 13,814.49, the S&P 500 advanced 37.04 points or 0.9 percent to 4,229.89 and the Dow rose 179.35 points or 0.5 percent to 34,756.39.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all showed modest moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both crept up by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher Friday amid rising hopes for increased demand and the recent OPEC decision to gradually increase crude output. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended up $0.81 or 1.2 percent at $69.62 a barrel, the highest settlement since October 2018.

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