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Asian Markets Mostly Higher Amid Cautious Trade

asiaup march19 10jun21 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, extending the gains of the previous session, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors are also cautiously optimistic after reports of encouraging inflation data and slight drop jobless claims from the U.S. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.

Meanwhile, traders also remain cautious amid restrictions and lockdowns is several areas in the region as coronavirus cases are still high.

Australian stock market is slightly higher after recouping early losses on Friday, extending the modest gains of the previous sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 above the 7,300 level near all-time highs, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. The weakness in energy and financial stocks was offset by strength in gold miners and technology stocks.

Traders were also relieved after no new coronavirus cases were reported in the country's second-most populous state of Victoria on a day when the Melbourne area came out of lockdown.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 16.90 points or 0.23 percent to 7,319.40, after touching a high of 7,320.00 and a low of 7,274.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 25.20 points or 0.33 percent to 7,584.00. Australian markets ended modestly higher on Thursday.

The major miners are mixed. BHP Group, Fortescue Metals and OZ Minerals are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Rio Tinto is edging down 0.5 percent. Mineral Resources is flat.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy are edging down 0.5 percent each, while Santos and Beach energy are losing almost 1 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay and Xero are gaining more than 2 percent each, while WiseTech Global is adding almost 1 percent and Appen is up almost 4 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are losing almost 1 percent each, while Westpac and ANZ Banking are down more than 1 percent each.

Gold miners are higher after gold prices spiked overnight. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 2 percent, while Resolute Mining, Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are adding more than 3 percent each. Newcrest Mining is up more than 1 percent.

In other news, Victoria has extended its royal commission into casino giant Crown Resorts by 10 weeks and doubled its budget so evidence of potential wrongdoing can be investigated properly. It was originally due to report back on August 1, The stock is down 3 percent.

Shares in Avita are soaring almost 17 percent after the U.S. FDA gave the green light to the biotech's flagship Recell skin system for more severe burns and for paediatric patients.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.775 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading on Friday, after modest gains of the previous sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just below the 29,000 mark, ignoring the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Meanwhile, concerns about the extended COVID-19 state of emergency in several major areas are weighing on the market.

However, the Japanese government has now decided to lift the state of emergency in Olympics city Tokyo and downgrade it to quasi-emergency state in other prefectures after this weekend as infections steadily decline and the strain on hospitals eased.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,923.30, down 35.26 points or 0.12 percent, after hitting a low of 29,080.89 and a low of 28, 839.54 earlier. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing are edging up 0.4 percent each. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging down 0.3 percent, while Mazda is edging up 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 2 percent, while Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are adding almost 1 percent each. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 2 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are down more than 1 percent each.

Among major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 1 percent and Sony is adding almost 1 percent, while Panasonic is losing more than 1 percent and Canon is down almost 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Eisai is gaining more than 7 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo. Bandai Namco Holdings, M3 and Japan Post Holdings are adding almost 3 percent each. Chugai Pharmaceutical, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Fujitsu are up more than 2 percent, while Kyocera, DeNA, Astellas Pharma, Chubu Electric Power, CyberAgent and Nippon Yusen K.K. are rising almost 2 percent each.

Conversely, Kubota is losing more than 4 percent and Isuzu Motors is down almost 4 percent, while Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Konica Minolta are lower by more than 3 percent. T&D Holdings, Mitsubishi Motors, Marui Group, Tosoh, GS Yuasa and Marui Group are all down almost 3 percent each.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan are all higher by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each, while Indonesia, Shanghai and Malaysia are lower by between 0.2 and 0.4 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Thursday but largely maintained a positive bias on the day before closing mostly higher. With the upward move, the S&P 500 reached a new record closing high.

The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the Dow inched up just 19.10 points or 0.1 percent to 34,466.24. The tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced 108.58 points or 0.8 percent to 14,020.33 and the S&P 500 rose 19.63 points or 0.5 percent to 4,239.18.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures moved higher on Thursday amid optimism energy demand will pick up gradually following an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that showed a big drop in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended up by $0.33 or 0.5 percent at $70.29 a barrel.

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