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Asian Markets Trading Mostly Higher

asiaup march18 20dec21 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, despite the sell-off on Wall Street overnight, as traders are looking to pick up stocks at a bargain following the recent weakness. Meanwhile, traders remain concerned about the pace of the economic recovery from the pandemic amid fears of fresh disruptions across supply chains globally following tighter restrictions in Europe. Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday.

With the World Health Organization saying the number of cases is doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission, traders seem worried the new strain could derail the global economic recovery. The new coronavirus Omicorn variant has also spread to about 90 countries.

Several countries, including France and Austria, have tightened travel restrictions to curb the rising wave of infections. Paris canceled its New Year's Eve firework celebration, while Germany, which has ruled out a Christmas lockdown, has warned a fifth wave could no longer be stopped.

The Australian stock market is trading modestly higher on Tuesday, recouping some of the losses in the previous six sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving just above the 7,300 level, despite the broadly sell-off on Wall Street overnight, as traders are looking to pick up stocks at a bargain following the recent weakness.

Meanwhile, the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus raised concerns about global economic recovery amid fears of fresh disruptions across supply chains globally following tighter restrictions in Europe.

Concerns are also rising domestically, with New South Wales reporting a record 3,057 new cases and two deaths on Monday. Victoria also reported 1,245 new cases and six deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 40.40 points or 0.55 percent to 7,332.60, after touching a high of 7,335.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 39.40 points or 0.52 percent to 7,641.60. Australian stocks closed marginally lower on Monday.

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

Oil stocks are higher. Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.2 percent and Santos is gaining 1.5 percent each, while Beach energy and Origin Energy are edging up 0.4 percent each.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is edging up 0.5 percent, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging up 0.2 percent each. Commonwealth Bank is flat.

Among tech stocks, Appen is losing almost 1 percent, WiseTech Global is edging down 0.1 percent, Zip is edging down 0.5 percent and Afterpay is declining more than 3 percent. Xero is up almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are mixed. Resolute Mining and Gold Road Resources are losing almost 1 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is gaining almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding more than 2 percent. Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.5 percent.

Shares in Australian Clinical Labs spiked almost 6 percent after the pathology tester raised its half-year revenue and profit guidance amid a surge in COVID-19 test demand.

In economic news, The Reserve Bank of Australia will on Monday release the minutes from its December 6 monetary policy meeting. At the meeting, Australia's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.10 percent. The board also voted to continue with the purchase of government securities at the rate of A$4 billion a week until at least mid-February 2022.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.711 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is trading sharply higher on Tuesday, recouping some of the sharp losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index just below the 28,500 level, despite the sell-off on Wall Street overnight, as traders are looking to pick up stocks at a bargain following the recent weakness.

Meanwhile, traders remain concerned about the pace of the economic recovery from the pandemic amid fears of fresh disruptions across supply chains globally following tighter restrictions in Europe.The new coronavirus Omicorn variant has also spread to about 90 countries, with some domestic cases as well.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,496.83, up 559.02 points or 2.00 percent, after touching a high of 28,518.70 earlier. Japanese shares closed sharply lower on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.4 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is adding almost 1 percent and Toyota is up 1.5 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining more than 3 percent each, while Screen Holdings is adding almost 4 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is adding almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower. Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent, while Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are adding more than 2 percent each. Sony is up more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Shionogi & Co. is surging more than 7 percent, Sharp is adding 4.5 percent and Japan Steel Works is gaining more than 4 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo and Ricoh are up almost 4 percent each. NEC, Sumitomo Chemical, Isetan Mitsukoshi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Sumco are rising more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, there were no major losers.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 113 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.1 percent. China, Hong Kong and Malaysia are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks tumbled right at the start of the session on Monday, and stayed weak right through the day as rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus raised concerns about global economic recovery.

The major averages all ended notably lower. The Dow, which plunged more than 700 points to 34,665.50, ended the day with a loss of 433.28 points or 1.23 percent at 34,932.16. The Nasdaq closed lower by 188.74 points or 1.24 percent at 14,980.94, recovering from the day's low of 14,860.04, while the S&P 500 settled at 4,568.02, recording a loss of 52.62 points or 1.14 percent.

The major European markets also closed notably lower on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 0.99 percent, Germany's DAX declined 1.88 percent and France's CAC 40 ended down 0.82 percent.

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower Monday as a rapid surge in Omicron variant of the coronavirus and stricter restrictions on movements in several countries raised concerns about outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down by $2.63 or 3.7 percent at $68.23 a barrel.

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