Asian Markets Mostly Lower Amid Cautious Trades
Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Monday, despite broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as trader continue to be cautious amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the region and the possible restrictions on economic activity in several markets. The US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell on Sunday also warned that coronavirus remains a threat to the economy. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday.
However, the cues from Wall Street on Friday were broadly positive as continued optimism about a swift economy recovery after repeated assurances that the Federal Reserve will maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy for the foreseeable future generated continued buying interest.
The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday after shedding early gains, extending losses of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 hovering just below the 7,000 level, as some gains in technology and financial stocks were offset by losses in materials, energy and gold mining stocks. The cues from Wall Street on Friday were broadly positive.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 32.00 points or 0.46 percent to near day’s low of 6,963.20. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 36.60 points or 0.51 percent to 7,215.70. Australian stocks closed marginally lower on Friday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group, Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals are losing almost 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is edging down 0.5 percent and OZ Minerals is declining more than 1 percent.
Oil stocks are mostly lower after crude oil prices declined on Friday. Oil Search is down more than 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum is losing almost 1 percent, while Santos is edging up 0.1 percent.
The big four banks are mixed. National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are gaining 0.5 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.2 percent.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay is up almost 1 percent, while WiseTech Global is losing almost 1 percent. Appen is gaining almost 2 percent.
Gold miners are lower after gold prices tumbled on Friday. Newcrest Mining is down almost 2 percent, while Star Resources and Evolution Mining are losing almost 1 percent each.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.760 on Monday.
Japanese stock market is lower in choppy trading on Monday, with the Nikkei 225 just above the 29,600 level, as continuing worries about the rising coronavirus cases and the possible restrictions on economic activity are weighing on the market.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,616.71, down 151.35 points or 0.51 percent, after touching a high of 29,876.04 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Friday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is up more than 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining 0.5 percent and Toyota is adding almost 1 percent.
The major exporters are mixed. Panasonic is edging up 0.4 percent and Canon is adding nearly 2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.1 percent and Sony is losing almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.3 percent and Mizuho Financial is losing almost 1 percent.
Among the other major gainers, JTEKT, Kubota and Nippon Sheet Glass are gaining more than 2 percent, while Yamaha Motor, JEE Holdings, Mitsubishi Motors and AGC are all are adding almost 2 percent each.
Conversely, Yaslawa Electric is losing more than 5 percent, Aeon is down more than 4 percent and Mitsui OSK Lines is declining more than 3 percent. Nippon Yusen, Alps Alpine and Kawasaki Kisen are losing almost 3 percent each, while Omron is down more than 2 percent.
In economic news, then overall bank lending in Japan was up 6.3 percent on year in March, the Bank of Japan said on Monday – coming in at 579.994 trillion yen. That’s up from 6.2 percent in February. In the first quarter of 2021, overall lending was up 6.2 percent on year.
Further, producer prices in Japan were up 1.0 percent on year in March, the Bank of Japan said on Monday – exceeding expectations for 0.5 percent, following the upwardly revised 0.6 percent contraction in February (originally -0.7 percent). On a monthly basis, producer prices jumped 0.8 percent – again exceeding expectations for 0.4 percent and up from 0.6 percent in the previous month.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 109 yen-range on Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are lower by between 0.3 and 0.9 percent. South Korea and Taiwan are bucking the trend and are higher.
On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading session on Friday after initially showing a lack of direction. With the upward move, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs, while the Nasdaq ended the day at its best closing level in almost two months.
The major averages accelerated to the upside going into the close, ending the session near their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 297.03 points or 0.9 percent to 33,800.60, the Nasdaq rose 70.88 points or 0.5 percent to 13,900.19 and the S&P 500 climbed 31.63 points or 0.8 percent to 4,128.80.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.2 percent.
Crude oil prices drifted lower Friday as worries about the outlook for energy demand amid a continued surge in coronavirus cases weighed on the commodity. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended lower by $0.28 or 0.5 percent at $59.32 a barrel.
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