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Asian Markets Trading Mostly Higher

asiaup march18 21mar22 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, despite the negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as higher commodity prices triggered strong buying in energy and materials sectors, despite rising concerns about the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Asian markets closed mixed on Monday.

Traders also digested comments from US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who suggested the central bank might raise interest rates more aggressively if inflation remains too high.

Traders also kept an eye on the latest developments in Ukraine, with peace talks with Russia failing to make substantial progress on key issues. US President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the Russia-Ukraine war.

Biden reportedly described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia. Xi told Biden that the United States and China each had an obligation to promote peace.

The Australian stock market is sharply higher on Tuesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,400 level, despite the negative cues from Wall Street on Monday, with strength in materials, energy and financial stocks amid a spike in commodity prices. Traders also continue to monitor developments surrounding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 92.80 points or 1.28 percent to 7,371.30, after touching a high of 7,377.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 91.10 points or 1.21 percent to 7,650.00. Australian stocks closed slightly lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is gaining 4.5 percent, Fortescue Metals is adding almost 2 percent, OZ Minerals is up almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is advancing almosy 3 percent and Mineral Resources is advancing more than 2 percent.

Oil stocks are higher, with Beach energy gaining almost 4 percent, Woodside Petroleum adding almost 3 percent, Santos up more than 2 percent and Origin Energy advancing almost 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Block and Zip are declining more than 3 percent each, while Xero is slipping almost 3 percent, Appen is losing almsot 2 percent and WiseTech Global is down more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are higher. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent, Newcrest Mining is adding almost 2 percent, Resolute Mining is advancing more than 2 percent and Northern Star Resources is up almost 3 percent. Gold Road Resources is flat.

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

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.739 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying just below the 27,300 level, despite the negative cues from Wall Street overnight, on news that the Japanese government has fully lifted its COVID-19 quasi-emergency measures that would be boost to the economy. However, traders remain cautious and continue to monitor developments surrounding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,242.88, up 415.45 points or 1.55 percent, after touching a high of 27,284.47 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Friday prior to an extended weekend with a holiday on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing are gaining 1.5 percent each. Among automakers, Honda is rising 1.5 percent and Toyota is adding almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are adding 1.5 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 3 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is surging more than 5.5 percent and Mizuho Financial is gaining almost 2 percent.

The major exporters are mostly higher, with Panasonic gaining almost 1 percent, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are adding more than 1 percent each. Canon is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Inpex is soaring more than 10 percent, Mitsubishi is surging almost 7 percent and Tokio Marine is gaining more than 6 percent, while T&D Holdings, Dai-ichi Life and Resona Holdings are adding almost 6 percent each. Sumitomo and Mitsui & Co. are up more than 5 percent each, while Marubeni and Concordia Financial are advancing more than 4 percent. Idemitsu Kosan, Daikin Industries, Sojitz and Yamaha are rising almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, Pacific Metals is losing almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 119 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is gaining 1.0 percent, while New Zealand, South Korea and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each. Singapore and Taiwan are down 0.4 and 0.1 percent, respectively. China and Malaysia are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Monday but largely maintained a negative bias throughout the session. The major averages gave back ground following the strong upward move seen on Wall Street last week.

The major averages ended the session in negative territory but off their worst levels of the day. The Dow slid 201.94 points or 0.6 percent to 34,552.99, the Nasdaq fell 55.38 points or 0.4 percent to 13,838.46 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.94 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 4,61.18.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both fell by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil prices hit a two-week high on Monday amid concerns over the ongoing invasion of Ukraine and on expectations the EU might impose a ban on Russian oil. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended higher by $7.42 or 7.1 percent at $112.12 a barrel.

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