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Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

asiancommentary dec03 29jun22 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Thursday, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, as uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets kept traders on the sidelines following recent volatility and global recession concerns. Traders also digested comments coming out from the European Central Bank's forum in Sintra. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday.

Speaking in a panel discussion at the forum, US Fed officials affirmed further sharp interest rate hikes to bring down persistently high inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned of an economic downturn in the wake of the central bank's monetary policy tightening to control inflation. He added that the central bank would not allow a transition from a low inflation environment to a high inflation environment.

"We had expected that this year growth would moderate to a more sustainable path. We also are, of course, raising interest rates and the aim of that is to slow growth down so that supply will have a chance to catch up," Powell stated.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 6,700 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, dragged by weakness in energy and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 48.90 points or 0.73 percent to 6,651.30, after hitting a low of 6,638.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 50.50 points or 0.73 percent to 6,827.40. Australian stocks ended significantly lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are losing almost 2 percent each, while Rio Tinto is down almost 1 percent. OZ Minerals is gaining more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is flat.

Oil stocks are lower. Santos is edging down 0.1 percent, Woodside Energy is declining more than 2 percent, Beach energy is down almost 3 percent and Origin Energy is slipping almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing 1.5 percent, Xero is edging down 0.5 percent and Appen is down more than 1 percent. Zip is adding more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is flat.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are all losing almost 1 percent each.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.5 percent, Gold Road Resources is losing almost 1 percent, Newcrest Mining is down 1.5 percent and Resolute Mining is declining more than 4 percent. Evolution Mining is flat.

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

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 26,600 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, dragged by weakness in exporters, financial and technology stocks amid worries persistent inflation and interest rate hikes could push towards a recession.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,561.05, down 243.55 points or 0.91 percent, after hitting a low of 26,509.087 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is down almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is plunging almost 5 percent and Tokyo Electron is slipping almost 3 percent and Advantest is declining more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is losing almost 1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are declining more than 1 percent each.

Among the major exporters, Sony is losing more than 2 percent and Canon is declining more than 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Panasonic are edging down 0.2 to 0.3 percent each.

Among the other major losers, Japan Exchange Group is losing almost 5 percent and Taiyo Yuden is down almost 4 percent, while Fanuc, Inpex, Idemitsu Kosan, Japan Steel Works and Murata Manufacturing are declining more than 3 percent each. Showa Denko K.K., Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, JTEKT, Sumco and JGC Holdings are slipping almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Kajima is gaining more than 3 percent.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is down 1.9 percent, while, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are lower by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each. China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Wednesday following the sell-off seen during trading on Tuesday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged before closing narrowly mixed.

While the Dow rose 82.32 points or 0.3 percent to 31,029.31, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 ended the day slightly lower. The Nasdaq edged down 3.65 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 11,177.89, and the S&P 500 dipped 2.72 points or 0.1 percent to 3,818.83.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index plunged by 1.7 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Wednesday, snapping a three-day winning streak with traders looking to the two-day OPEC meeting that began today to discuss supply issues. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $1.98 or 1.8 percent at $109.78 a barrel.

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