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Asian Markets Are Mostly Higher

asiaup march19 04dec22 lt

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders remain optimistic that the US Fed will slow the pace of interest rate hikes as early as next month, despite data showing stronger than expected job growth in November that allayed fears of a global economic slowdown. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday.

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions in China following mass protests against strict pandemic curbs is also aiding market sentiment.

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Monday, recouping some of the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,300 level, following mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with the gains led by strength in major miners amid a spike in iron ore prices. Energy stocks are also higher, while technology stocks are weak.

Traders also cautiously await the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy tomorrow, where it is expected to deliver another modest 25 basis point rate increase after domestic inflation trended lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 44.50 points or 0.61 percent to 7,346.00, after touching a high of 7,351.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 44.00 points or 0.59 percent to 7,547.50. Australian stocks closed significantly lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining more than 2 percent, BHP Group is adding almost 3 percent, Mineral Resources is up almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is surging almost 6 percent, while OZ Minerals is edging down 0.2 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy is gaining more than 2 percent, Woodside Energy is edging up 0.5 percent and Santos is adding almost 2 percent, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.5 percent.

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

Gold miners are mostly weak. Northern Star Resources, Evolution Mining and Gold Road Resources are losing more than 1 percent each, while Resolute Mining is surging almost 6 percent and Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while ANZ Banking is edging down 0.2 percent.

In economic news, the services sector in Australia continued to contract in November, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from S&P Global showed on Monday with a services PMI score of 47.6. That's down from 49.3 in October, and it moves further beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the composite index slipped to 48.0 last month from 49.8 in October.

Meanwhile, gross operating profits for Australian companies plunged a seasonally adjusted 12.4 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2022, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday. That was well shy of expectations for a gain of 0.3 percent following the upwardly revised 7.8 percent increase in the three months prior (originally 7.6 percent). On a yearly basis, profits gained 8.5 percent, inventories rose 7.9 percent and wages jumped 11.0 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.684 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Monday, recouping some of the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,800 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders remain concerned about the outlook for interest rates following data that showed stronger-than-expected US jobs data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,808.74, up 30.84 or 0.11 percent, after touching a high of 27,854.11 and a low of 27,700.86 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.5 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 1 percent and Toyota is declining more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Advantest are edging down 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are losing more than 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.4 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower, with Canon and Panasonic losing almost 1 percent each, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, JFE Holdings and Eisai are gaining almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Resona Holdings is losing almost 4 percent and Tokyo Electric Power is declining more than 3 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Nissan Motor and Chubu Electric Power are down almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the services sector in Japan continued to expand in November, albeit at a slower rate, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Monday with a PMI score of 50.3. That's down from 53.2 in October, 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 into contraction at 48.9, down from 51.8 a month earlier.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 134 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is surging 3.4 percent and China is up 1.3 percent, while Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.3 and 0.6 percent each. New Zealand, South Korea and Malaysia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a notable turnaround over the course of the trading day on Friday after coming under pressure early in the session. The major averages climbed well off their early lows, eventually ending the session mixed.

While the Dow inched up 34.87 points or 0.1 percent to 34,429.88, the Nasdaq dipped 20.95 points or 0.2 percent to 11,461.50 and the S&P 500 edged down 4.87 points or 0.1 percent to 4,071.70.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures slumped on Friday ahead of OPEC's meeting over the weekend and the European Unio's cap on Russian crude. West Texas Intermediate shed 1.24 or 1.5 percent to $79.98 per barrel.

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