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Asian Markets Mostly Lower

asiancommentary aug20 07nov19 lt

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Friday despite the overnight gains on Wall Street amid renewed optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal.

A spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry said the U.S. and China have agreed to lift existing tariffs on each other's goods in phases as part of a phase one trade agreement. However, a report from Reuters said the plan has drawn fierce opposition from many of Trump's advisers.

The Australian market is declining in choppy trade despite the gains on Wall Street. Weak corporate earnings results dampened sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 15.60 points or 0.23 percent to 6,711.00, after rising to a high of 6,742.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 16.10 points or 0.24 percent to 6,820.80. Australian stocks closed sharply higher on Thursday.

Oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices rebounded overnight. Woodside Petroleum is advancing almost 2 percent, Santos is higher by more than 1 percent, and Oil Search is adding almost 1 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are up in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is losing more than 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by more than 3 percent after safe-haven gold prices fell overnight.

The major miners are mostly down with modest losses. BHP Billiton is down 0.2 and Rio Tinto is edging down 0.1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding 0.2 percent.

News Corp. is in talks to sell News America Marketing after impairment charges against the advertising business resulted in the company reporting a first-quarter loss and revenue declined 7 percent. The media giant's shares are losing almost 4 percent.

REA Group reported a 14 percent decrease in first-quarter group earnings excluding joint ventures and associates, while revenue after broker commission declined 9 percent amid the local housing downturn. The property listing group's shares are lower by almost 2 percent.

In economic news, Australia will provide September figures for home loans today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6895, up from $0.6871 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is rising and the safe-haven yen weakened following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street amid renewed optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 135.87 points or 0.58 percent to 23,466.19, after rising to a high of 23,591.09 earlier. Japanese stocks recovered from a weak start to close higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is declining more than 2 percent, while Fast Retailing is adding 0.7 percent.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is advancing almost 1 percent and Panasonic is rising 0.6 percent, while Sony is declining more than 1 percent and Canon is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is higher by more than 1 percent after reporting an increase in first-half profit and maintaining its fiscal 2020 outlook. Honda Motor is lower by 0.6 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is rising almost 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is higher by 0.6 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is advancing almost 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is adding more than 1 percent after crude oil prices rebounded overnight.

Among the other major losers, Rakuten and Bandai Namco Holdings are losing more than 4 percent each, while Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsubishi Materials are lower by almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see preliminary September figures for its leading and coincident indexes, household spending and labor cash earnings today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 109 yen-range on Friday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday after a spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry said the U.S. and China have agreed to lift existing tariffs in phases. A report from Reuters said an anonymous U.S. official confirmed the planned rollback as part of a phase one trade agreement President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping hope to sign before the end of the year. However, the report also noted the prospect of lifting tariffs, even in phases, has drawn fierce opposition from many of Trump's advisers, contributing to a notable pullback by stocks.

The Dow advanced 182.24 points or 0.7 percent to 27,674.80, the Nasdaq climbed 23.89 points or 0.3 percent to 8,434.52 and the S&P 500 rose 8.40 points or 0.3 percent to 3,085.18.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Thursday, rebounding smartly after suffering a setback in the previous session. WTI crude for December ended up $0.80, or about 1.4 percent, at $57.15 a barrel.

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