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Asian Markets Trade Mixed

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Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Friday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as fears about a recession due to aggressive monetary tightening by central banks to rein in inflation rendered the mood bearish. Analysts expect the US Fed will likely raise rates by 100 basis points later this month, with inflation soaring to a 41-year high. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.

The Australian stock market is sharply lower on Friday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 6,600 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, dragged by weakness in materials and energy stocks amid tumbling commodity prices on fears of demand slowdown from top importer China.

Financial stocks are also weak. The increasing COVID-19 cases across the country is also weighing on market sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 61.30 points or 0.92 percent to 6,589.30, after hitting a low of 6,537.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 65.00 points or 0.95 percent to 6,783.60. Australian markets ended modestly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is losing more than 3 percent, BHP Group is down almost 4 percent, OZ Minerals is sliding more than 4 percent, Mineral Resources is declining almost 5 percent and Fortescue Metals is slipping more than 5 percent.

Oil stocks are lower. Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside Energy are losing more than 1 percent each, while Beach energy is declining more than 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is gaining more than 4 percent and Zip is adding more than 2 percent, while Appen is losing more than 4 percent, Xero is down more than 1 percent and Afterpay owner Block is slipping almost 4 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are losing almost 2 percent each, while National Australia Bank is down more than 1 percent and ANZ Banking is declining more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are lower. Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are losing more than 2 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is down almost 2 percent and Resolute Mining is slipping more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.675 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Friday after slipping in to the red briefly in mid-morning, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving above the 26,700 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,797.47, up 154.08 points or 0.58 percent, after touching a high of 26,857.77 earlier. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is surging almost 7 percent after it raised full-year outlook as third-quarter profit topped estimates. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.3 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 1 percent, while Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are declining almost 2 percent each.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 3 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are declining almost 2 percent each.

Among major exporters, Canon, Sony and Panasonic are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is flat.

Among the other major gainers, Nintendo and Hino Motors are adding more than 2 percent.

Conversely, JGC Holdings, T&D Holdings and Dai-ichi Life Holdings are plunging more than 5 percent each, while Concordia Financial Group is slipping more than 4 percent. Toho Zinc and Chiba Bank are losing almost 4 percent each, while Toppan, Orix, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust,
Fukuoka Financial and Shizuoka Bank are declining more than 3 percent each. Isetan Mitsukoshi,
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Yamaha Motor are down almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 138 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each, while New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia are lower by between 0.2 and 0.7 percent each. China is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks regained ground over the course of the trading day on Thursday but still ended the day mostly lower after moving sharply lower early in the session. The major averages climbed well off their worst levels of the day, with the Nasdaq closing just above the unchanged line.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged as much as 2.1 percent in early trading but ended the day up 3.60 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 11,251.19. Meanwhile, the Dow fell 142.62 points or 0.5 percent to 30,630.17 and the S&P 500 dipped 11.40 points or 0.3 percent to 3,790.38.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all showed significant moves to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index plunged 1.9 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Thursday as concerns about the outlook for energy demand resurfaced amid fears of a possible recession due to rising interest rates. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $0.52 or 0.5 percent at $95.78 a barrel.

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