logo
  

Asian Markets Mostly Lower Amid Virus Woes

asiadown march17 29jul21 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Friday, ignoring the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street as traders continue to be worried about the alarming spread of the highly contagious coronavirus variants in the region as it will impact the pace of the global economy recovery from the pandemic. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.

Australian stock market is slightly lower after treading in the green early on Friday, giving up some of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,400 level, ignoring the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as energy and technology stocks are weak. Traders also remain concerned amid the rapid spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants in New South Wales, with the extension of lockdown in Greater Sydney hindering economic activity.

NSW reported 170 new local coronavirus cases, with the lockdown extended by another four weeks after seeing the biggest one-day rise in new infections Thursday. Meanwhile, Victoria recorded only two new COVID cases overnight, with the lockdown withdrawn.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 3.40 points or 0.04 percent to 7,414.00, after hitting a low of 7,403.10 and a high of 7,437.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 5.9 points or 0.08 percent to 7,689.30. Australian markets ended modestly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Mineral Resources is adding almost 1 percent and OZ Minerals is up more than 2 percent. Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.4 percent.

Oil stocks are weak. Oil Search and Santos are losing almost 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is edging down 0.5 percent and Beach energy is down more than 1 percent. Origin Energy is plunging almost 9 percent after it said it expects a $2.25 billion charge in its full-year 2021 on and expects lower earnings in its energy markets business for the next two years.

Among tech stocks, Xero is edging down 0.4 percent, WiseTech Global is losing more than 1 percent and Appen is down almost 3 percent. Afterpay is declining more than 2 percent.

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

NAB has announced a $2.5 billion share buyback, which will take place in August. It comes close on the heels of ANZ announcing a $1.5 billion buyback last week.

Gold miners are higher. Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Resolute Mining and Evolution Mining are edging up 0.4 percent each. Gold Road Resources is adding almost 2 percent.

In economic news, private sector credit in Australia was up 0.9 percent on month in June, the Reserve Bank of Australia said on Friday - accelerating from 0.4 percent in May. On a yearly basis, credit climbed 3.1 percent - up from 1.9 percent in the previous month.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.740 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Friday, giving up all the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just above the 27,400 level, ignoring the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders are concerned about the continued restrictions in economic activity amid the spike in the recent fresh wave of COVID-19 infections.

The government on Friday proposed states of emergency in three prefectures near Olympic host city Tokyo as well as Osaka Prefecture through August 31 as COVID-19 cases spike to records around the country. The capital announced a record 3,865 daily infections on Thursday, with daily cases nationwide topping 10,000 for the first time.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,409.26 down 373.16 points or 1.34 percent, after hitting a low of 27,294.05 earlier. Japanese shares closed significantly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging down 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are losing more than 1 percent each, while Screen Holdings is edging down 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.5 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.2 percent, while Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.5 percent, Sony is losing almost 2 percent and Panasonic is down more than 3 percent, while Canon is flat.

Among the other major losers, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is losing more than 10 percent, while Fujitsu and Fuji Electric are down more than 9 percent each. Konica Minolta is declining almost 7 percent, Fanuc down almost 6 percent, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings is lower by almost 5 percent and Shiseido is losing more than 4 percent, while Alps Alpine and Tokyo Electric Power is down almost 4 percent each. Nippon Electric Glass, NTN, Credit Saison, Astellas Pharma and NEC are losing more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Omron is gaining more than 2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings is down almost 2 percent.

In economic news, the jobless rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.9 percent in June, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That was beneath expectations for 3.0 percent, which would have been unchanged from the May reading. The participation rate was 62.4 percent, up from 62.2 percent a month earlier.

Further, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said on Friday Industrial production in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 6.2 percent on month in June,. That beat expectations for an increase of 5.0 percent following the downwardly revised 6.5 percent contraction in May (originally -5.9 percent). On a yearly basis, industrial production spiked 22.6 percent - roughly in line with expectations following the 21.1 percent gain in the previous month.

The METI also said the total value of retail sales in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent on month in June. That beat expectations for an increase of 2.5 percent following the upwardly revised 0.3 percent contraction in May (originally -0.4 percent). On a yearly basis, retail sales rose 0.1 percent - shy of expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent following the upwardly revised 8.3 percent gain in the previous month (originally 8.2 percent).

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea are all lower by between 0.3 and 0.8 percent each, while Singapore is relatively flat. Indonesia is bucking the trend and is up 0.3 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. With the upward move on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 set new record intraday highs.

The major averages pulled back off their best levels in afternoon trading but managed to remain positive. The Dow climbed 153.60 points or 0.4 percent to 35,084.53, the Nasdaq inched up 15.68 points or 0.1 percent to 14,778.26 and the S&P 500 rose 18.51 points or 0.4 percent to 4,419.15.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled higher Thursday as data showing a drop in U.S. crude inventories continued to support oil prices, while a weak dollar also contributed. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended up $1.23 or 1.7 percent at $73.62 a barrel.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Follow RTT