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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

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Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, following the positive cues from Wall Street overnight, as upbeat earnings news contributed to rebound along with continued optimism about the economy, despite some concerns about the spread of new coronavirus variants. Investors also await the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday for clues on the timing of stimulus tapering and the outlook for the global economy. Asian stocks ended mostly lower Monday.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday, after the slight losses of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 breaking above the 7,400 level to fresh all-time highs, following the positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with materials and energy stocks lifting the market. Traders remain concerned about the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus variants in more states.

New South Wales reported two deaths and 172 new local cases, the highest daily case total since the recent outbreak. Victoria has recorded 10 new local cases of coronavirus, with the total active cases reaching 198, but set to exit lockdown today after reporting fewer new cases. South Australia reported only two new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 51.90 points or 0.70 percent to 7,446.20, after touching a fresh all-time high of 7,447.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 50.20 points or 0.65 percent to 7,720.70. Australian stocks closed marginally lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is gaining more than 2 percent, Fortescue Metals is up more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is adding almost 2 percent. Mineral Resources is edging down 0.5 percent. OZ Minerals is surging almost 8 percent after reporting higher copper production and raising gold production guidance for the full year.

Oil stocks are higher, with Santos, Woodside Petroleum and Beach energy gaining more than 1 percent each, while Oil Search and Origin Energy are up almost 1 percent each.

Oil Search reported a decline in oil and gas production in the June quarter, but reported a 21.5 percent increase in operating revenues. It also said it was on track to meet full year production and capital expenditure guidance.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent, while National Australia Bank is edging down 0.3 percent. ANZ Banking is edging up 0.1 percent. Westpac is flat.

Westpac's plan to sell its assets in Fiji and Papua New Guinea has been dealt a blow, after PNG's competition watchdog proposed to block the deal.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay is losing almost 2 percent and Xero is declining more than 2 percent. Appen is down almost 1 percent. WiseTech Global is edging up 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are mixed. Newcrest Mining, Evolution Mining and Resolute Mining are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is down more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is edging down 0.2 percent.

In other news, shares in BlueScope are up more than 3 percent after the Steel manufacturer said it expects to beat its second half guidance, with underlying earnings set to come in at $1.19 billion on strong demand and a buoyant economy.

Shares in Japara are soaring more than 18 percent after the board of aged care operator approved the $1.40 per share sweetened takeover offer from Calvary Health Care.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.738 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday, extending the gains of the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index just below the 28,000 mark, following the positive cues from Wall Street overnight, ignoring the surge in the coronavirus' delta variant infections amid the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,932.08, up 98.22 points or 0.35 percent, after touching a high of 28,036.23 earlier. Japanese shares closed significantly higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are gaining almost 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.4 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 2 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding more than 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.3 percent.

The major exporters are higher, with Sony and Mitsubishi Electric gaining almost 1 percent each, while Panasonic is edging up 0.1 percent and Canon is adding 0.4 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Sumitomo Metal Mining is gaining almost 5 percent and Fujikura is adding almost 4 percent, while JFE Holdings, Mitsui Mining & Smelting, Mitsui E&S Holdings, Nippon Steel, Citizen Watch, Toho Zinc, Nippon Light Metal Holdings and Pacific Metals are all higher by more than 3 percent. Tokai Carbon, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Tokyo Tatemono, Showa Denko K.K. and Seiko Epson are up more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Rakuten Group is losing almost 8 percent, while Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Kyowa Kirin are down more than 2 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 110 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.6 percent each. Meanwhile, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Taiwan are lower by between 0.4 and 0.5 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout much of the trading day on Monday but managed to end the session modestly higher. With the uptick on the day, the major averages once again reached new record closing highs.

The major averages all finished the day in positive territory, although the Nasdaq inched up just 3.72 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 14,840.71. The Dow rose 82.76 points or 0.2 percent to 35,144.31 and the S&P 500 edged up 10.53 points or 0.2 percent to 4,422.30.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed just below the unchanged line and the German DAX Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower Monday amid worries about the outlook for energy demand due to the rapidly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus in several countries around the world. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended down by $0.16 or 0.2 percent at $71.91 a barrel after four straight days of gains.

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