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Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher

asiaup march18 19apr22 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Wednesday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders reacted positively to some of the latest corporate earnings news and also picked up stocks at a bargain after the recent drop in the market. Asian Markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

The continued escalation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the prospects of increasing stringent sanctions to be imposed on Russia by the Western countries rendered the mood cautious.

The strict restrictions on movements in several parts in China to curb the spread of the pandemic have also raised supply chain concerns.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,600 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with strength in financial and technology stocks, which mirrored their peers on Nasdaq.

Traders are also reacting to signals from the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's April meeting that showed that Australian economy had remained resilient and spending was picking up.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 24.50 points or 0.32 percent to 7,589.70, after touching a high of 7,624.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 41.10 points or 0.52 percent to 7,909.00. Australian stocks ended modestly higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, OZ Minerals is losing 1.5 percent, while Fortescue Metals and BHP Group are edging down 0.2 percent each. Mineral Resources is flat. Rio Tinto is down almost 1 percent after reporting a drop in shipments in the first quarter on delays to expansion projects.

Oil stocks are weak. Woodside Petroleum is declining almost 1 percent and Beach energy is losing almost 2 percent. Origin Energy is edging up 0.2 percent, while Santos is edging down 0.4 percent after it launched an on-market share buyback, expected to start in May 2022.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is gaining more than 1 percent, Xero is adding more than 2 percent, Block is advancing almost 3 percent and Appen is up almost 1 percent, while Zip is declining more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is gaining more than 1 percent and Westpac is edging up 0.5 percent, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are adding almost 1 percent each.

Among gold miners, Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are declining almost 3 percent each, while Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are losing almost 1 percent each. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.2 percent.

In other news, shares in Ramsay Health Care are soaring almost 27 percent after a consortium led by U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co. offered to buy the private hospital operator for $88 per share or $20.05 billion at a 37 percent premium to Ramsay's last close.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.741 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,100 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as a weaker yen boosted export-oriented shares.

The escalation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the prospects of increasing stringent sanctions to be imposed on Russia by the Western countries rendered the mood cautious.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,139.99, up 154.90 points or 0.57 percent, after touching a high of 27,389.84 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining 3.5 percent and Toyota is adding almost 4 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Advantest is declining almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is gaining almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.3 percent.

Among the major exporters, Canon, Mitsubishi Electric and Sony are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Panasonic is up almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Sumitomo Osaka Cement is soaring more than 14 percent and Taiheiyo Cement is up almost 5 percent, while Subaru and Nissan Motor are gaining almost 4 percent each. Suzuki Motor and Shiseido are adding more than 3 percent each, while Minebea Mitsumi, Mitsubishi Motors, Olympus, Seven & I Holdings, Nikon and Mazda Motor are advancing almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, there are no major losers.

In economic news, Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 412.4 billion yen in March, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday. That missed expectations for a shortfall of 100.8 billion yen following the downwardly revised 669.7 billion yen in February (originally -668.3 billion yen). Exports were up 14.7 percent on year - shy of expectations for an increase of 17.5 percent and down from 19.1 percent in the previous month. Imports jumped an annual 31.2 percent versus forecasts for a gain of 28.9 percent and down from an upwardly revised 34.1 percent spike a month earlier (originally 34.0 percent).

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 128 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each, while Hong Kong, China and South Korea are lower by between 0.2 and 0.5 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading session on Tuesday, regaining ground following recent weakness. The major averages initially showed a lack of direction but climbed firmly into positive territory as the day progressed.

The major averages reached new highs in the final hour of trading, ending the session near their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 499.51 points or 1.5 percent to 34,911.20, the Nasdaq spiked 287.30 points or 2.2 percent to 13,619.66 and the S&P 500 surged 70.52 points or 1.6 percent to 4,462.21.

Meanwhile, European stocks climbed off their worst levels of the day but still closed mostly lower. While the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index 0.2 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices fell sharply Tuesday on concerns about outlook for energy demand following a downward revision in global growth forecast by the International Monetary Fund. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down by $5.65 or 5.2 percent at $102.56 a barrel.

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