Asian Markets Broadly Lower On Trade Worries

Asian stock markets are broadly lower on Wednesday despite the overnight gains on Wall Street as worries about escalating trade tensions been the world's two largest economies weighed on sentiment.

Investors digested news that China is seeking the World Trade Organization's permission to impose trade sanctions on the U.S. Crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent in Asian trades after gaining more than 2 percent overnight.

The Australian market is declining despite the positive lead from Wall Street after metals prices fell amid worries about global trade tensions. Mining stocks and banks are trading weak.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 19.40 points or 0.31 percent to 6,160.30, off a low of 6,152.40. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 18.10 points or 0.29 percent to 6,269.50. Australian markets rose notably on Tuesday to snap an eight-session losing streak.

Myer Holdings reported a full-year net loss on asset write-downs and lower sales, while underlying net profit fell 52 percent. The department store giant's shares are losing more than 6 percent.

The major miners are weak after a fall in industrial metals prices due to worries about trade tensions. BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals are declining more than 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is down 0.6 percent.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining is losing almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent despite higher gold prices.

In the banking sector, ANZ banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are down in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.9 percent.

Bucking the trend, oil stocks rose after crude oil prices gained more than 2 percent overnight. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are advancing almost 1 percent each, while Santos is higher by almost 2 percent.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has approved a A$13 billion takeover bid by a Hong Kong consortium for Australia's biggest gas pipeline company APA Group. Shares of APA Group are rising more than 1 percent.

In economic news, Australia will see September results for the consumer confidence index from Westpac today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7108, down from $0.7123 on Tuesday.

The Japanese market slipped into negative territory after opening higher following the positive cues from Wall Street. Investors digested news that China is seeking the World Trade Organization's permission to impose trade sanctions on Washington.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 41.82 points or 0.18 percent to 22,622.87, after touching a low of 22,568.78 earlier. Japanese shares rose the most in four weeks on Tuesday.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a flat yen. Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 1 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are declining almost 1 percent each. Sony is rising 0.7 percent.

In the auto space, Toyota is down almost 1 percent and Honda is losing almost 2 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.5 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is rising more than 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is up 0.2 percent after crude oil surged more than 2 percent overnight.

Shares of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. are losing almost 1 percent after the drugmaker said it is closing its U.S. headquarters in Chicago with about 1,000 employees and moving its functions to the Boston area.

Among the major gainers, SoftBank, Yahoo Japan and Nippon Suisan Kaisha are all rising more than 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Sumco Corp. is losing more than 7 percent, Okuma Corp. is declining almost 5 percent and Taiyo Yuden is lower by more than 4 percent.

On the economic front, Japan will release third-quarter numbers for the all industry and large manufacturing indexes from BSI.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 111 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Shanghai, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are also lower, while Indonesia is higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Tuesday as traders looked to pick up stocks at somewhat reduced levels following recent weakness. Trading activity remained somewhat subdued, however, as a lack of major U.S. economic data kept some traders on the sidelines.

The Dow rose 113.99 points or 0.4 percent to 25,971.06, the Nasdaq climbed 48.31 points or 0.6 percent to 7,972.47 and the S&P 500 advanced 10.76 points or 0.4 percent to 2,887.89.

The major European markets ended mixed on Tuesday. While the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Tuesday as falling Iranian output tightened global supply and a major hurricane approached the U.S. east coast. WTI crude for October rose $1.70 or 2.5 percent to close at $69.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. . In Asian trades Wednesday, crude oil further rose $0.73 or 1.05 percent to $69.98.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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