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Asian Markets Mostly Lower In Cautious Trade

asiadown march17 21jun22 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Wednesday, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from global markets, as traders remain cautious ahead of the US Fed Chair Jerome Powell's key testimony before the Congress later in the day. However, traders continue to pick up stocks at reduced levels following recent weakness in the markets. Asian Markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 6,500 level, despite the mostly positive cues overnight from global markets, dragged by technology, gold miners and financial stocks. Traders also continue to pick up stocks at a bargain after the sell-off last week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 18.20 points or 0.28 percent to 6,505.80, after hitting a low of 6,505.60 and a high of 6,557.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 22.30 points or 0.33 percent to 6,678.50. Australian stocks ended sharply higher on Tuesday.

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

Oil stocks are higher. Beach energy and Santos are adding almost 3 percent each, while Origin Energy is up almost 2 percent and Woodside Energy is gaining more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block and Appen are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Zip is declining more than 6 percent, WiseTech Global is slipping almost 2 percent and Xero is losing almost 1 percent.

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

Among gold miners, Gold Road Resources is losing more than 1 percent, Resolute Mining is declining more than 2 percent, Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.3 percent and Newcrest Mining is down almost 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.693 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Wednesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 26,200 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, as traders continue to pick up stocks at a bargain after the sell-off last week. Meanwhile, the weaker yen continued to impact the broader economy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is currently trading at 26,255.95, up 9.64 points or 0.04 percent, after hitting a low of 26,157.09 and a high of 26,462.83 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply higher on Tuesday.

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

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

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are flat.

Among the major exporters, Sony is losing almost 1 percent, while Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are edging up 0.2 percent each. Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Mitsubishi Motors is surging almost 6 percent, Yokohama Rubber is gaining almost 4 percent and Mazda Motor is up more than 3 percent, while Astellas Pharma is adding almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Sojitz is slipping more than 5 percent, Mitsubishi is losing more than 4 percent, Pacific Metals is down more than 3 percent and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is declining almost 3 percent.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan will on Wednesday release the minutes from its monetary policy meeting on April 27 and 28. At the meeting, the BoJ maintained its massive stimulus and guidance of ultra-low interest rates at -0.1 percent and raised the inflation forecast. The bank also committed to conduct fixed rate auctions every business day to defend its 0.25 percent yield target and it will continue to purchase Japanese government bonds without setting an upper limit so that 10-year JGB yields will remain at around zero percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 136 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Taiwan are down 1.7 and 1.3 percent, respectively. Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are lower by between 0.2 and 0.5 percent each. New Zealand and China are up 0.5 and 0.1 percent, respectively.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher during trading on Tuesday with traders returning to their desks following the long holiday weekend. The major averages all showed strong moves to the upside after ending last Friday's volatile session mixed.

The major averages pulled back off their best levels going into the close but still posted substantial gains. The Dow jumped 641.47 points or 2.2 percent to 30,530.25, the Nasdaq surged 270.95 points or 2.5 percent to 11,069.30 and the S&P 500 spiked 89.95 points or 2.5 percent to 3,764.79.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices bounced higher again Tuesday, recovering from the selloff in the previous session that was fueled by recession concerns. West Texas intermediate for August delivery jumped $1.53 or 1.4 percent to $109.52 a barrel.

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