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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

asiaup march18 16may22 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, fueled largely by strength in materials and energy stocks amid higher commodity prices. Markets are also upbeat on news that Shanghai plans to gradually reopen after spending more than six weeks in lockdown after recent data showed a sharp contraction in Chinese economic activity. Asian markets closed mixed on Monday.

However, traders remain cautious after a slew of economic data from the U.S., Europe and China raised concerns about global economic slowdown, soaring inflation and prospects of tighter policy moves by global central banks to combat persistent inflation.

The Australian stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving just above the 7,100 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, fueled largely by strength in materials and energy stocks amid higher commodity prices. Meanwhile, technology stocks mirrored their peers lower on tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 7.70 points or 0.11 percent to 7,100.70, after touching a high of 7,129.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 13.30 points or 0.18 percent to 7,339.50. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and OZ Minerals are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources is advancing more than 4 percent, Rio Tinto is adding almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is up more than 2 percent.

Oil stocks are higher, with Beach energy gaining almost 4 percent, Origin Energy adding more than 1 percent, Santos advancing more than 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum up almost 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Appen is losing more than 1 percent, Afterpay owner Block is slipping more than 3 percent and Xero is down almost 3 percent, while WiseTech Global and Zip are edging down 0.5 percent each.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.5 percent, Gold Road Resources is gaining more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is adding almost 2 percent. Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.2 percent and Evolution Mining is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining more than 1 percent, Westpac is adding almost 1 percent and National Australia Bank is edging up 0.3 percent, while ANZ Banking is flat.

In other news, shares in Brambles are plunging more than 7 percent after news that European private equity giant CVC Capital Partners is now not willing to bid for the pallet maker due to the current market volatility.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes from its May 3 monetary policy meeting. At the meeting, the bank raised its key interest rate by 25 basis points or 0.35 percent as inflation picked up more than expected largely due to supply-side disruptions. The board also increased the interest rate on Exchange Settlement balances from zero percent to 25 basis points.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.699 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying below the 26,700 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with strength in materials and energy stocks, even as concerns remain about slowing growth, soaring inflation and prospects of tighter policy moves by global central banks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,601.03, up 53.98 points or 0.20 percent, after touching a high of 26,709.26 and a low of 26,440.62 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.3 percent, while Toyota is declining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are edging up 0.4 percent each, while Screen Holdings is gaining almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging down 0.2 to 0.5 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Sony gaining almost 1 percent, while Canon and Panasonic are adding more than 1 percent each. Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Isetan Mitsukoshi is gaining almost 6 percent, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is adding more than 5 percent, Inpex is up almost 5 percent, Mazda Motor is rising more than 4 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is advancing almost 4 percent, while Pacific Metals, Nippon Yusen K.K., ENEOS Holdings, NTN, Mitsubishi Chemical and Haseko are all adding more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Asahi Group is plummeting more than 12 percent, Dentsu Group is losing almost 6 percent, Unitika is slipping more than 4 percent and Nippon Light Metal Holdings is declining almost 4 percent, while Sumco and Japan Steel Works are up more than 3 percent.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is surging 1.8 percent, while China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.9 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.5 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks ended mixed on Monday after a somewhat volatile session as some disappointing economic data from the U.S., Europe and China weighed on sentiment, prompting investors to largely stay cautious.

Despite early weakness, the Dow ended slightly up at 32,223.42, gaining 26.76 points or 0.08 percent. The S&P 500, which managed to emerge into positive territory around mid-afternoon, failed to hold at higher levels and settled with a loss of 15.88 points or 0.39 percent at 4,008.01. The Nasdaq closed with a loss of 142.21 points or 1.2 percent at 11,662.79.

The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance with investors digesting the latest batch of economic data from the zone. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 0.63 percent, Germany's DAX slid 0.45 percent and France's CAC 40 ended lower by 0.23 percent.

Crude oil futures shrugged off early weakness and settled sharply higher on Monday, buoyed by rising gasoline prices after a drop in stockpiles. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $3.71 or 3.4 percent at $114.20 a barrel.

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