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Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher

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Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, as traders react to the latest batch of earnings news from big-name companies. Materials, energy and technology stocks are also providing support to the markets. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, with gains in materials, energy and technology stocks, partially offset by weakness in financial stocks.

Traders also cautiously await the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy decision on Tuesday, where the RBA is expected to announce its third successive 50 basis point interest rate hike to tame surging inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 29.60 points or 0.43 percent to 6,974.80, after touching a high of 6,979.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 24.60 points or 0.34 percent to 7,198.40. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Friday.

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

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

Among tech stocks, Xero and WiseTech Global are adding more than 1 percent each, while Zip is gaining 3.5 percent and Appen is up almost 1 percent. Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are mixed, Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.1 percent, Evolution Mining is gaining more than 2 percent and Northern Star Resources is adding more than1 percent, while Resolute Mining and Newcrest Mining are flat.

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

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from S&P Global revealed on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 55.7. That's down from 56.2 in June, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. July data pointed to a sixth month of expansion in production across Australia's manufacturing sector.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.699 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Monday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,900 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, even as the steady surge in the fresh wave of COVID-19 infections with the BA.5 omicron variant puts strain on hospitals.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,933.27, up 131.63 or 0.47 percent, after touching a high of 27,936.20 earlier. Japanese shares ended slightly lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 2 percent and Toyota is adding almost 3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 2 percent, Screen Holdings is adding almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is flat. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 2 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are edging up 0.3 percent each.

The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 1 percent. Canon is flat. Sony slipping more than 6 percent after slashing its fiscal-year net profit forecast due to weaker game earnings.

Among the other major gainers, Sumitomo Pharma is soaring more than 10 percent, Toto is surging almost 7 percent and Hino Motors is gaining almost 6 percent, while Denso and Ajinomoto are adding almost 5 percent each. Toyota Tsusho and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are up more than 4 percent each, while Keyence, Keisei Electric Railway and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are advancing almost 4 percent each. Omron, Japan Steel Works and Isuzu Motors are up more than 3 percent each, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and JTEKT are gaining almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Alps Alpine is plummeting almost 14 percent, while Fujitsu and Pacific Metals are sliding more than 7 percent each. Nippon Electric Glass is losing almost 5 percent and Kansai Electric Power is declining more than 3 percent, while Tokyo Electric Power, Takeda Pharmaceutical, Hitachi, Daiwa Securities Group and Daiichi Sankyo are down almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 52.1. That's down from 52.7 in June, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. There were renewed declines in both production and new order volumes at the start of the third quarter.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 132 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.6 percent each, while Hong Kong and Taiwan are down 0.4 and 0.2 percent, respectively. China is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, adding to the strong gains posted on Wednesday and Thursday. With the extended rally, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a nearly three-month closing high, while the Dow and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in well over a month.

The major averages pulled back off their highs going into the close but remained firmly positive. The Dow jumped 315.50 points or 1 percent to 32,845.13, the Nasdaq shot up 228.09 points or 1.9 percent to 12,390.69 and the S&P 500 surged 57.86 points or 1.4 percent to 4,130.29.

The major European markets all also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose sharply after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories tumbled last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended higher by $2.20 or 2.3 percent at $98.62 a barrel. WTI crude futures gained 4.1 percent in the week but fell 6.8 percent in the month.

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