Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher

asianup march03 15feb22 lt

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Wednesday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, amid easing geopolitical concerns following news Russia is pulling back some troops from the Ukrainian border. Traders also picked stocks at a bargain as concerns about a destabilizing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine have weighed on stocks over the past few sessions. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said units from Russia's southern and western military districts, which border Ukraine, have already begun returning to their bases after completing combat training.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,200 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, amid easing geopolitical concerns following news Russia is pulling back some troops from the Ukrainian border.

Concerns over the domestic COVID-19 cases have also softened despite a recent spike in cases in some areas. New South Wales reported 10,463 new cases and 27 deaths on Tuesday and Victoria also reported 8,149 new cases and 18 deaths. Queensland recorded 6,596 new cases and 12 deaths, ACT reported 594 new cases and Tasmania reported 625 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 61.10 points or 0.85 percent to 7,268.00, after touching a high of 7,268.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 65.00 points or 0.87 percent to 7,555.30. Australian stocks ended modestly lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is edging down 0.5 percent, while BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are losing more than 2 percent each. OZ Minerals is gaining more than 2 percent and Mineral Resources is edging up 0.5 percent.

Fortescue Metals reported a 32 percent drop in first-half profit, hurt by higher material and labour costs amid the pandemic, but beat estimates. It also declared a lower interim dividend.

Oil stocks are mixed. Origin Energy and Woodside Petroleum are edging down 0.5 percent each, while Beach energy is adding more than 1 percent.

Santos is losing more than 3 percent after it reported that its annual underlying profit more than tripled, supported by soaring oil and gas prices. The company also declared a final dividend.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 1 percent, Appen is adding almost 4 percent, Xero is edging up 0.4 percent, Block is advancing almost 2 percent and Zip is rising more than 2 percent.

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

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

In other news, shares in Liontown Resources are soaring almost 16 percent after the lithium miner signed a five-year agreement to supply lithium spodumene concentrate to electric carmaker Tesla.

Shares in CSL are adding more than 7 percent despite the biotech firm posted a 5 percent decline first-half net profit as the COVID-19 pandemic inhibited its ability to collect plasma. The company declared an interim dividend, but sees weak results for the second half and full-year.

Treasury Wine Estates posted a 7.5 percent drop in first-half profit and missed market expectations. However, the stock is up almost 11 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.715 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Wednesday, recouping the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index gaining more than 500 points to staying just below the 27,400 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, amid easing geopolitical concerns following news Russia is pulling back some troops from the Ukrainian border.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,428.02, up 562.83 points or 2.10 percent, after touching a high of 27,450.28 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is adding almost 3 percent and Toyota is gaining more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings, Tokyo Electron and Advantest are gaining more than 4 percent each.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is gaining almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are advancing more than 2 percent each.

Among the major exporters, Canon and Sony are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.5 percent. Panasonic is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Bridgestone is soaring more than 8 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and TDK are surging almost 6 percent each. Asahi Group Holdings is gaining more than 5 percent, while Japan steel Works, Daiichi Sankyo and Ebara are adding almost 5 percent each. Yokohama Rubber, ANA Holdings and Dentsu Group are up more than 4 percent each, while GS Yuasa and Mitsui Chemicals are adding almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, Inpex is is losing more than 5 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 115 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan are surging by between 1.2 and 1.6 percent each, while China, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. Singapore is bucking the trend and is down 0.1 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a strong move to the upside during trading on Tuesday, regaining ground following the sell-off seen over the three previous sessions. The major averages all moved sharply higher, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the advance.

The major averages finished the session near their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 422.67 points or 1.2 percent to 34,988.84, the Nasdaq spiked 348.84 points or 2.5 percent to 14,139.76 and the S&P 500 surged 69.40 points or 1.6 percent to 4,471.07.

The major European markets also showed strong moves back to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index surged up by 1.9 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices tumbled on Tuesday as worries about supply disruptions eased amid the de-escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended down by $3.39 or 3.6 percent at $92.07 a barrel.

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