Asian Markets Mixed On Lack Of Cues

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Tuesday, following the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street, which was closed overnight for a holiday, as investors continued to track updates about the spread in the delta variant of the coronavirus in the region, and the latest batch of economic data from the region. Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Monday.

Meanwhile, there is hope that the Federal Reserve will continue with its easy monetary policy for longer time, and central banks in several countries, including Japan and China will announce additional stimulus to keep economic recovery on track.

The Australian stock market is slightly lower on Tuesday, giving up the modest gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 above the 7,500 level, following the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street, which was closed overnight for a holiday, with materials and technology stocks dragging the market.

Australia’s two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are still under lockdown as the nation struggles to contain the domestic coronavirus situation, primarily in New South Wales and Victoria.

NSW has reported 1,220 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Monday. Victoria also recorded 246 new locally acquired cases, with the active cases totalling 1,786 across Victoria.

Traders are also not making any big moves as they await the Reserve Bank’s policy decision later in the day, with analysts’ undecided on whether the central bank will put off its tapering plans.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 10.30 points or 0.14 percent to 7,518.20, after hitting a low of 7,487.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 30.90 points or 0.40 percent to 7,792.90. Australian stocks closed slightly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is losing more than 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are declining more than 2 percent each. OZ Minerals is down almost 1 percent and Rio Tinto is lower by almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos is gaining almost 1 percent and Origin Energy is adding 0.6 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are edging up 0.2 percent each. Beach energy is losing more than 1 percent.

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

Among tech stocks, Xero is edging up 0.2 percent, while Appen is losing almost 2 percent and WiseTech Global is declining more than 1 percent. Afterpay is flat.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Resolute Mining is gaining 1.5 percent and Gold Road Resources is adding more than 1 percent, while Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.3 percent. Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are losing almost 1 percent each.

In economic news, the services sector in Australia contracted 6.1 points in August, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed on Tuesday, with a Performance of Services Index score of 45.6. That’s down from 51.7 in July, and it fell below the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The total number of building permits issued in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 8.6 percent on month in July, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday, coming in at 17,601 units. That matched expectations following the 5.5 percent decline in June. On a yearly basis, building permits increased 21.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.744 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous six sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index just below the 30,000 mark, despite the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street, which was closed overnight for a holiday.

Traders continue to be optimistic that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s successor will implement new economic measures to alleviate the prolonged impact of the pandemic, even as the nation struggles to contain the domestic coronavirus infection rates, with more prefectures and cities under the state of emergency.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,894.92, up 235.03 points or 0.79 percent, after touching a high of 30,048.23 earlier. Japanese shares closed sharply higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is surging more than 5 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is declining more than 1 percent, while Toyota is edging up 0.3 percent.

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

The major exporters are higher, with Panasonic gaining more than 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric adding more than 1 percent and Canon edging up 0.2 percent. Sony is flat.

Among the other major gainers, Toho Zinc is soaring more than 11 percent, Pacific Metals is gaining almost 7 percent, Maruha Nichiro adding almost 5 percent and Shionogi & Co. is up almost 4 percent, while Keisei Electric Railway, NEXON, Seven & I Holdings, Japan Steel Works and Minebea Mitsumi are all gaining more than 3 percent each. Mitsubishi Logistics, Suzuki Motor, SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings and Takara Holdings are adding almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Toyo Seikan Group is plummeting almost 16 percent and Nisshinbo Holdings is plunging more than 11 percent as both these stocks are being taken off the Nikkei 225 index. Z Holdings is losing almost 3 percent, while Nippon Yusen K.K., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Yaskawa Electric and Nikon are down almost 2 percent each.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and South Korea are losing between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. Hong Kong is gaining 0.9 percent and China is adding 0.6 percent. New Zealand and Malaysia are relatively flat.

Overnight, the U.S. markets were closed for the Labor Day holiday.

The major European markets closed higher on Monday on hopes the Federal Reserve will continue with its easy monetary policy for longer time. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.68 percent, Germany’s DAX climbed up 0.96 percent and France’s CAC 40 surged up 0.8 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower Monday amid concerns over the outlook for demand after Saudi Arabia, the world’s top exporter, cut its prices for Asian buyers over the weekend. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October tumbled 0.6 percent to $68.89 a barrel.

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