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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

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Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Wednesday, despite the broadly negative cues from the global markets overnight, as traders digested the latest batch of earnings updates and economic data, even as rising geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China, and concerns that the economy is slowing weighed on the market. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday.

The markets are weighing the risks of worsening relationship between the U.S. and China as investors are worried that the trip by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan would raise tensions between the world's two economic superpowers.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday, snapping the six-session winning streak, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,000 mark, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with weakness across most sectors as traders digest the third cash rate hike by the RBA in as many months.

The central bank said it was intent on bringing interest rates to a "neutral" level of at least 2.5 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 26.20 points or 0.37 percent to 6,971.90, after hitting a low of 6,918.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 21.50 points or 0.30 percent to 7,194.90. Australian stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals and BHP Group are losing almost 2 percent each, while OZ Minerals is slipping almost 3 percent and Mineral Resources is down almost 1 percent.

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

In the tech space, Xero and WiseTech Global are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Afterpay owner Block is surging more than 4 percent and Appen is advancing more than 3 percent. Zip is slipping 3.5 percent.

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

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

In economic news, the services sector in Australia continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from S&P Global revealed on Wednesday with a services PMI score of 50.9. That's down from 52.6 in June, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the composite PMI fell to 51.1 in July from 52.6 in June.

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the total value of retail sales in June was up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent on month in June, coming in at A$34.239 billion. On a yearly basis, retail sales climbed 12.0 percent. For the second quarter of 2022, the value of retail sales climbed a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent on quarter to A$94.281 billion.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.692 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, recouping some of the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 below the 27,800 level, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with gains in exporters and technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,740.97, up 146.24 points or 0.53 percent, after touching a high of 27,837.63 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is flat, while Advantest is gaining almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is edging down 0.4 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining more than 2 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony is gaining almost 2 percent, Canon is up almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding more than 3 percent, while Panasonic is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Nichirei is surging almost 6 percent, Daikin Industries is gaining more than 4 percent, M3 is adding almost 4 percent and Z Holdings is advancing more than 3 percent, while Mitsubishi and Fujitsu are down almost 3 percent.

Conversely, AGC is losing almost 4 percent, while Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and Sekisui House are down almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the services sector in Japan continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Wednesday with a services PMI score of 50.2. That's down from 53.0 in June, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the composite PMI fell to 50.3 in July from 54.0 in June.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 133 yen-range on Wednesday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed on a weak note on Tuesday as rising tensions between the U.S. and China, and signs of slowing global growth weighed on sentiment. Hawkish comments from a couple of Federal Reserve officials weighed as well.

The major averages all ended in negative territory. The Dow ended with a loss of 402.23 points or 1.23 percent at 32,396.17, the S&P 500 settled with a loss of 27.44 points or 0.67 percent at 4,091.19 and the Nasdq ended with a loss of 20.22 points or 0.16 percent at 12,348.76.

The major European markets also closed on a weak note on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged down 0.06 percent, Germany's DAX ended 0.23 percent down and France's CAC 40 shed 0.42 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher Tuesday, with traders weighing demand and supply prospects and looking ahead to this week's OPEC+ meeting. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended higher by $0.53 or 0.6 percent at $94.42 a barrel.

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