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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

asiaup march18 06oct21 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Thursday, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as US lawmakers are set to reach a deal to avoid a government debt default and shutdown. Traders also looked to snap up stocks at a bargain following the recent sell-off. The upside may be limited amid sliding crude oil prices and continuing concerns about the coronavirus infections in the region. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, investors are looking ahead to the closely watched monthly U.S. jobs data, due on Friday. The data, which includes both public and private sector jobs, is expected to show a continued improvement in the labor market.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Thursday, recouping some of the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,300 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as US lawmakers are set to reach a deal to avoid a government debt default, led by gains in gold mining, technology and financial stocks. Traders also looked to snap up stocks at a bargain after the sell-off in the past two days.

Meanwhile, traders look at the domestic coronavirus situation. Victoria reported a record 1,638 new locally acquired cases and two deaths on Wednesday, with active cases now totalling 15,074 across the state. NSW has reported 587 new local cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 35.20 points or 0.49 percent to 7,241.70, after touching a high of 7,265.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 38.60 points or 0.52 percent to 7,534.80. Australian markets ended modestly lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is edging up 0.2 percent, while Mineral Resources and BHP Group are edging down 0.4 percent each. Fortescue Metals is losing more than 1 percent and OZ Minerals is down almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are lower. Beach Energy is losing almost 2 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy are down almost 1 percent each. Oil Search is declining more than 2 percent and Santos is lower by almost 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is gaining more than 1 percent, while Westpac and ANZ Banking are adding almost 1 percent each. Commonwealth Bank is flat

In the tech space, Xero and Zip are gaining more than 3 percent each, while Afterpay, WiseTech Global and Appen are adding almost 3 percent each.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.1 percent and Northern Star Resources is gaining almost 1 percent, while Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are adding more than 1 percent each. Evolution Mining is losing almost 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.728 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Thursday, snapping a seven-session losing streak, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 adding more than 400 points to be just below the 28,000 mark, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as US lawmakers are set to reach a deal to avoid a government debt default and shutdown. Traders are also upbeat after emerging last week from six months of pandemic restrictions that has battered the economy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,990.32, up 461.45 points or 1.68 percent, after touching a high of 28,015.11 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding 2.5 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is gaining more than 1 percent and Honda is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are gaining almost 3 percent each.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 1 percent.

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

Among the other major gainers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is gaining more than 5 percent, Hino Motors, Taiyo Yuden, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Bandai Namco are adding almost 4 percent each. Daikin Industries, Shiseido, Nexon, Kikkoman, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Astellas Pharma, Z Holdings, Ebara and Konami Holdings are all up more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Inpex is losing almost 8 percent, Idemitsu Kosan is down more than 5 percent and Takeda Pharmaceutical is lower by more than 4 percent, while Aeon, Sumitomo Osaka Cement and Tokyo Electric Power are declining almost 4 percent each. Eneos Holdings is down almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-111 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is soaring 2 percent, Taiwan is surging 1.9 percent and South Korea is climbing 1.7 percent, while Indonesia and Singapore are higher by 0.2 and 0.9 percent, respectively.. New Zealand and Malaysia are bucking the trend and are up 0.2 and 0.3 percent, respectively. China remains closed for Golden Week holidays.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant turnaround over the course of the trading day on Wednesday after coming under pressure early in the session. The major averages all climbed well off their lows of the session and into positive territory.

The Dow plunged by more than 450 points in early trading but ended the day up 102.32 points or 0.3 percent at 34,416.99. The Nasdaq also climbed 68.08 points or 0.5 percent to 14,501.91, while the S&P 500 rose 17.83 points or 0.4 percent to 4,363.55.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index plunged by 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Wednesday, coming off multi-year highs amid concerns about slowing economic growth, high inflation and fears of interest rate hikes from central banks. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November sank $1.50 or 1.9 percent at $77.43 a barrel.

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