Asian Markets Mostly Lower On US Inflation Data

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Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Wednesday, following the continued sell-off on Wall Street, as traders remained wary about faster interest rate hikes after US data showed higher-than-expected core inflation. Traders also remain cautious amid concerns about economic slowdown and persistently rising inflation. Asian Markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Thursday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with sharp losses in technology stocks amidst concerns over interest rates. Traders also remain cautious amid concerns about economic slowdown and persistently rising inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 74.90 points or 1.06 percent to 6,989.80, after hitting a low of 6,981.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 81.90 points or 1.12 percent to 7,222.50. Australian stocks ended slightly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.1 percent, while OZ Minerals is losing almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is edging down 0.2 percent. Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are flat.

Oil stocks are relatively flat. Origin Energy is flat, while Woodside Petroleum, Beach energy and Santos are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is plunging almost 7 percent, Appen is down almost 3 percent, Afterpay owner Block is plummeting more than 15 percent, Zip is declining 4.5 percent and Xero is slipping almost 9 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are flat, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are losing almost 1 percent each. Commonwealth Bank reported a steady third-quarter cash profit of $2.4 billion on loan growth.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources, Evolution Mining and Gold Road Resources are slipping more than 1 percent each, while Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.4 percent and Resolute Mining is declining almost 2 percent.

In economic news, the total number of building permits issued in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 185 percent on month in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday - coming in at 15,183. That was in line with expectations following the 42.0 percent surge in February. On a yearly basis, permits were down 35.6 percent. Permits for private sector houses shed 3.0 percent on month and 32.2 percent on year to 9,932, while permits issued for dwellings excluding houses tumbled 29.9 percent on month and 41.0 on year to 5,004.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.692 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Wednesday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 26,000 mark, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders remained concerned about faster interest rate hikes after US data showed higher-than-expected core inflations.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 25,992.68, down 220.96 points or 0.84 percent, after hitting a low of 25,688.11 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is declining almost 4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.2 percent and Toyota is adding more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining more than 2 percent, while Advantest is losing more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is declining almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.2 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony is gaining more than 2 percent, Panasonic is edging up 0.3 percent, while Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are adding almost 1 percent each.

Among the other major losers, Sharp is plunging more than 8 percent, while Oki Electric Industry and M3 are slipping almost 8 percent each. Kao is sliding more than 6 percent and Z Holdings is down more than 4 percent, while Denka, Chugai Pharmaceutical, Odakyu Electric Railway, Suzuki Motor and Tokai Carbon are declining almost 4 percent each. Rakuten Group is losing more than 3 percent.

Conversely, Japan Steel Works is skyrocketing more than 18 percent, Hitachi Zosen is soaring more than 14 percent, Kobe Steel is surging almost 13 percent and Olympus is rising more than 11 percent, while Pacific Metals, IHI and Toppan are gaining more than 6 percent each. Mazda Motor is up more than 5 percent, while Mitsubishi Motors and Idemitsu Kosan are adding almost 5 percent each. Kawasaki Heavy Industries is up more than 4 percent, while JGC Holdings, Marubeni and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are advancing more than 3 percent each.

In economic news, Japan posted a current account surplus of 2,549.3 billion yen in March, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday - up 2.8 percent on year. That beat forecasts for a surplus of 1,752.3 billion yen and was up from 1,648.3 billion yen in February. Exports were up 15.7 percent on year to 8,456.1 billion yen and imports surged 36.6 percent to 8,622.1 billion yen for a trade deficit of 166.1 billion yen. The capital account showed a deficit of 39.5 billion yen and the financial account had a surplus of 1,515.9 billion yen.

The value of overall bank lending in Japan was up 0.9 percent on year in April, the Bank of Japan said on Thursday - coming in at 584.726 trillion yen. That's up from 0.5 percent in March. Excluding trusts, bank lending jumped 1.1 percent on year to 508.305 trillion yen, also accelerating from 0.5 percent in the previous month. Lending from trusts fell 0.1 percent on year to 76.420 trillion yen, while lending from foreign banks advanced an annual 0.7 percent to 3.569 trillion yen.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 129 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is plunging 1.9 percent, while Hong Kong and Taiwan are losing 1.4 and 1.0 percent, respectively. China, Singapore and South Korea are lower by between 0.2 and 0.7 percent each. Malaysia is bucking the trend and is up 0.2 percent. New Zealand is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks saw considerable volatility in morning trading on Wednesday before once again coming under substantial selling pressure in the afternoon. With the steep drop on the day, the major averages all ended the session at their lowest closing levels in over a year.

The major averages saw further downside going into the close, ending the day near their lows of the session. The Dow slumped 326.63 points or 1 percent to 31,834.11, the Nasdaq plunged 373.44 points or 3.2 percent to 11,364.24 and the S&P 500 tumbled 65.87 points or 1.7 percent to 3,935.18.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index surged by 2.5 percent, the German DAX Index shot up by 2.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.4 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed higher on Wednesday, rebounding sharply from recent losses thanks to data showing a significant drop in flows of Russian gas to Europe. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $5.95 or 6 percent at $105.71 a barrel.

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