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Asian Markets Bounce Back After Losing Streak

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Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Friday after the recent losing streak, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders continued to pick up stocks at a bargain and reacted to the prospects of sharper and faster rate hikes as well as tighter monetary policies by several central banks to reign in the highest inflation in decades. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

The markets also reacted positively to news that the U.S. Senate confirmed President Joe Biden's appointment of Jerome Powell to a second term as Federal Reserve Chair.

Meanwhile, traders have also recently expressed concerns that more aggressive moves by the Fed and other central banks could lead to a period of stagflation or an outright recession. The Fed has resolved to continue hiking rates by 50 basis points for at least the next two meetings.

Concerns about the prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns in China and ongoing war in Ukraine remain.

The Australian stock market is sharply higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,000 mark, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with strength in energy and technology stocks, even as rising worries about high inflation and tightening monetary policies remain.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 105.50 points or 1.52 percent to 7,046.50, after touching a high of 7,051.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 112.90 points or 1.58 percent to 7,279.50. Australian markets ended sharply lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group, Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are gaining more than 1 percent each, while OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are higher. Woodside Petroleum is gaining almost 2 percent, Beach energy is adding almost 1 percent, Origin Energy is edging up 0.3 percent and Santos is up 1.5 percent.

Among tech stocks, Zip and Appen are adding almost 4 percent each, while Xero is rising more than 5 percent, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 3 percent and Afterpay owner Block is soaring 11.5 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are mostly weak. Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are edging down 0.3 to 0.4 percent each, while Newcrest Mining is declining more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is losing almost 2 percent. Resolute Mining is gaining 2.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.689 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 adding almost 700 points to be above the 26,400 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, on news that the Japanese government will implement new policies to boost growth, even as rising worries about high inflation and tightening monetary policies remain.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,421.84, up 673.12 points or 2.61 percent, after touching a high of 26,430.36 earlier. Japanese shares closed sharply lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is soaring almost 10 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining more than 4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent and Toyota is adding almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 3 percent, Screen Holdings is adding almost 5 percent and Tokyo Electron is up more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among major exporters, Sony is gaining more than 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is surging more than 5 percent and Panasonic is adding almost 1 percent, while Canon is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, JGC Holdings is soaring more than 20 percent, Fujikura is surging almost 17 percent and Citizen Watch is rising almost 13 percent, while Marui Group and OKUMA are adding more than 10 percent each. NEXON is up more than 8 percent, while Haseko and Olympus are rising almost 8 percent each. Recruit Holdings and Furukawa Electric are gaining more than 6 percent each, while Rakuten Group is advancing almost 6 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Konami Holdings are adding almost 5 percent each.

Conversely, Casio Computer is plunging almost 16 percent, Secom is slipping more than 9 percent, Konica Minolta is sliding almost 9 percent, Comsys Holdings is declining more than 6 percent, Nikon is dropping almost 6 percent and Resona Holdings is losing more than 5 percent, while Ebar and NTT Data are down almost 5 percent each. Trend Micro is losing more than 4 percent, while Teijin and UBE are down almost 4 percent each.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan are higher by between 1.2 to 1.8 percent each, while China and Malaysia are up 0.4 and 0.5 percent, respectively. Indonesia is bucking the trend and is up 0.5 percent. New Zealand is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks saw substantial volatility over the course of the trading day on Thursday before ending the day little changed. After showing wild swings as the day progressed, the major averages closed narrowly mixed.

The major averages showed a notable recovery going into the close, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq inching up 6.73 points or 0.1 percent to 11,370.96. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 edged down 5.10 points or 0.1 percent to 3,930.08 and the narrower Dow dipped 103.81 points or 0.3 percent at 31,730.30.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 tumbled 1.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 1 percent and the German DAX Index fell by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures ended modestly higher on Thursday as the European Union's proposal to ban Russian oil offset concerns of prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns in China. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $0.42 or 0.4 percent at $106.13 a barrel.

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