Asian Markets Follow Wall Street Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, on continued upward momentum following heavy selling earlier this month. Traders also kept an eye on developments out of Europe, where President Joe Biden is meeting with U.S. allies in Brussels after imposing additional sanctions against Russia. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.

Traders are also concerned amid rising Sino-U.S. tensions after Washington sought to deter Beijing from aiding sanctions-hit Russia.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Friday, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,400 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with materials and gold miners supporting the market gains. Traders also continue to monitor the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 23.20 points or 0.31 percent to 7,410.30, after touching a high of 7,431.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 24.50 points or 0.32 percent to 7,693.50. Australian markets ended slightly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group, OZ Minerals, Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals are all gaining almost 1 percent each.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy and Woodside Petroleum are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while Origin Energy is gaining more than 1 percent. Santos is flat.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global and Zip are slipping more than 1 percent each while Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 3 percent and Appen is edging down 0.4 percent. Xero is gaining more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging down 0.3 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.1 percent. ANZ Banking is edging up 0.1 percent.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent, Newcrest Mining is adding more than 2 percent and Northern Star Resources is up almost 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is losing 1.5 percent. Gold Road Resources is flat.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.752 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading on Friday, giving up some of the gains in the previous eight sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just below the 28,100 level, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street as traders also continue to monitor the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and its economic impact.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,062.18, down 48.21 points or 0.17 percent, after hitting a low of 28,028.82 and high of 28,338.81 earlier. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is flat and Toyota is edging up 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is edging up 0.1 percent, Screen Holdings is gaining almost 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is slipping more than 1 percent.

Among major exporters, , Sony is declining almost 1 percent and Canon is edging down 0.4 percent, while Panasonic is edging up 0.4 percent. Mitsubishi Electric is flat.

Among the other major losers, Kyowa Kirin is losing almost 4 percent.

Conversely, Pacific Metals and Daiichi Sankyo are gaining almost 4 percent each, while Showa Denko is adding more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 121 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, is plunging 2.3 percent and New Zealand, China, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.4 percent each, while Hong Kong, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 0.4 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday, offsetting the pullback seen in the previous sessions. With the strong move back to the upside, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended the session at their best closing levels in over a month.
The major averages all reached new highs going into the close of trading. The Dow jumped 349.33 points or 1 percent to 34,707.94, the Nasdaq surged 269.24 points or 1.9 percent to 14,191.84 and the S&P 500 shot up 63.92 points or 1.4 percent to 4,520.16.

Meanwhile, the major European markets finished the day mixed. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices showed a notable move to the downside on Thursday after Iran hinted it may be close to getting a new nuclear deal with the U.S. via negotiations in Europe. West Texas Intermediate Crude for May delivery tumbled $2.59 or 2.3 percent to $112.34 a barrel.

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