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Bargain Hunting Push Asian Markets Mostly Higher

asiaup march18 20jun22 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, following the positive cues from European markets overnight, with traders picking up stocks at a bargain after the recent sell-off in global markets, the worst since 2020. However, traders remain worried about a recession amid bets of bigger interest-rate hikes from major central banks. The Asian markets closed mostly lower on Monday.

Traders also await a congressional appearance by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell this week that could highlight the U.S. central bank's resolve to guide inflation back to the Fed's 2 percent target.

The Australian stock market is sharply higher on Tuesday, snapping the seven-session losing streak, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 6,500 level, following the lack of cues from Wall Street overnight due to a holiday, boosted largely by materials, energy and financial stocks as traders picked up stocks at a bargain after the recent sell-off to 19-month lows.

Traders remained cautious as they brace for further interest rate hikes after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe reiterated that Australians should be prepared for further interest rate increases. However, he added that future policy moves will be shaped by incoming data.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 91.50 points or 1.42 percent to 6,524.90, after touching a high of 6,528.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 96.40 points or 1.46 percent to 6.705.90. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Mineral Resources are gaining more than 2 percent each, while OZ Minerals is adding more than 4 percent and Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 3 percent.

Oil stocks are higher, with Beach energy gaining almost 4 percent, Origin Energy adding almost 2 percent, Santos up 1.5 percent and Woodside Energy advancing more than 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block and Xero are edging up 0.5 percent each, while Zip and WiseTech Global are flat. Appen is edging down 0.4 percent.

Gold miners are up. Newcrest Mining, Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are edging up 0.3 percent each, while Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining more than 1 percent and National Australia Bank is adding more than2 percent, while Westpac and ANZ Banking are advancing almost 2 percent each.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will on Monday release the minutes from its monetary policy meeting on June 7. At the meeting, the RBA raised its key interest rate by a bigger-than-expected 50 basis points to 0.85 percent from 0.35 percent, which was the biggest hike since 2000, and vowed to withdraw the monetary support to bring inflation back to the target. This was the second consecutive rate hike after lifting a quarter-point in May.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.697 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Tuesday, recouping the losses in the previous two-sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 26,200 mark, following the positive cues from the European markets overnight, with traders picking up stocks at a bargain after the recent sell-off in global markets, the worst since 2020.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,225.15, up 453.93 points or 1.76 percent, after touching a high of 26,265.35 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly lower on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent and Toyota is adding almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are gaining more than 1 percent each. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is adding more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are higher, with Sony gaining more than 3 percent and Canon up almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Panasonic are adding more than 1 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Showa Denko K.K. and CyberAgent are surging more than 6 percent each, while Tokai Carbon and Tokyu Fudosan are gaining almost 5 percent each. Mitsui E&S Holdings is up more than 4 percent, while Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Hitachi Zosen, Tokyo Tatemono, Yokohama Rubber, West Japan Railway, Nippon Sheet Glass, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Isetan Mitsukoshi, IHI and Inpex are adding almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, there are no major losers.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 135 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is up 1.4 percent, while New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.9 percent each. China is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, the markets were off on Monday for the Juneteenth Day holiday and will return to action on Tuesday.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. Germany's DAX jumped 139.34 points or 1.06 percent to finish at 13,265..60, London's FTSE spiked 105.56 points or 1.50 percent to close at 7,121.81 and the CAC 40 in France gained 37.44 points or 0.64 percent to end at 5,920.09.

Crude oil futures traded mixed on Monday after falling sharply in the previous session on inflation worries and global growth concerns. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August settlement edged up 0.3 percent to $108.28 a barrel.

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