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Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher

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Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with technology and energy stocks boosting the markets. Traders also continued to pick up stocks at relatively reduced levels following recent weakness. However, concerns remain about persistent inflation, economic growth outlook and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving just below the 7,200 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with strength in materials and energy stocks amid higher commodity prices. Technology stocks also gained.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 60.10 points or 0.85 percent to 7,166.00, after touching a high of 7,196.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 60.30 points or 0.82 percent to 7,399.60. Australian markets ended significantly lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto, Mineral Resources and BHP Group are gaining almost 2 percent each, while OZ Minerals is adding more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Origin Energy and Woodside Energy are adding more than 1 percent each, while Beach energy is gaining more than 3 percent and Santos is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is adding more than 2 percent, Zip is gaining more than 4 percent, Xero is up more than 1 percent and Afterpay owner Block is advancing more than 5 percent. Appen is plunging almost 24 percent after Telus abruptly withdrew its $1.2 billion acquisition offer.

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

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources, Resolute Mining and Gold Road Resources are losing more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is down almost 2 percent. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.713 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving above the 26,800 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with exporter and technology stocks boosting the market, even as rising worries about high inflation and tightening monetary policies remain.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,772.84, up 168.00 points or 0.63 percent, after touching a high of 26,996.70 earlier. Japanese shares closed modestly lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 4 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is adding almost 3 percent, Tokyo Electron is gaining more than 3 percent and Screen Holdings is advancing more than 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.2 percent, while Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are flat.

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

Among the other major gainers, Nippon Yusen K.K. is soaring more than 7 percent and Nikon is surging more than 6 percent, while Sompo Holdings and Toyota Tsusho are rising more than 5 percent each. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is adding more than 4 percent, while Unitika, J. Front Retailing and Tokio Marine are up almost 4 percent each. Shiseido, IHI, Tokai Carbon, Minebea Mitsumi and Furukawa Electric are advancing more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Electric Power, Marubeni, Kansai Electric Power and M3 are losing more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region of Japan were up 2.4 percent on year in May, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That missed expectations for 2.6 percent and was down from 2.5 percent in April. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile costs of food, were up 1.9 percent on year in May. That was unchanged from the previous month's reading, although it also missed forecasts for an increase of 2.0 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 126 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is surging 2.9 percent, while Taiwan and Indonesia are up 1.6 percent each. China, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are higher by between 0.1 to 0.9 percent each. Malaysia is bucking the trend and is edging down 0.1 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher during trading on Thursday, extending the strong upward move seen over the course of the previous session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq posted a particularly strong gain, continuing to recover after ending Tuesday's trading at its lowest closing level since November 2020.

The major averages pulled back off their highs going into the close but continued to post strong gains. The Dow jumped 516.91 points or 1.6 percent to 32,637.19, the Nasdaq soared 305.91 points or 2.7 percent to 11,740.65 and the S&P 500 surged 79.11 points or 2 percent to 4,057.84.

The major European markets also all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Thursday amid increasing signs of tight supply in the market ahead of the peak U.S. driving season that kicks off next week. A weak dollar and the possibility of EU sanctions on Russian oil also contributed to the jump in oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended higher by $3.76 or 3.4 percent at $114.09 a barrel.

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