Asian Markets Follow Wall Street Mostly Higher
Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Thursday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders digested the latest batch of minutes from the US Fed’s latest monetary policy meeting, which showed the central bank remains committed to bringing down inflation. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday.
The minutes said the members of the central bank said there would be another 50 or 75-basis point move in the July meeting to further rein in inflation. The minutes also said participants continued to anticipate that ongoing increases in the target range for the federal funds would be appropriate to achieve the monetary policy committee’s objectives.
Meanwhile, worries about slowing growth, a surge in Covid-19 cases in China, and weak crude oil prices weighed on the market. Another wave of COVID infections across Shanghai has again raised the specter of another lockdown after the city emerged from a strict two-month lockdowns recently.
The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Thursday, recouping some of the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 6,600 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, boosted by a rebound in materials stocks, while traders digested the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting. All other sectors are trading weak.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 22.90 points or 0.35 percent to 6,617.40, after touching a high of 6,626.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 21.60 points or 0.32 percent to 6,805.90. Australian stocks ended modestly lower on Wednesday.
Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto is up more than 3 percent, OZ Minerals is rising almost 2 percent, Mineral Resources is advancing more than 4 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding more than 2 percent.
Oil stocks are lower. Santos is losing 1.5 percent, Woodside Energy is declining more than 1 percent, Beach energy is down almost 2 percent and Origin Energy is slipping almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent, Xero is down almost 1 percent, Appen is edging down 0.5 percent, Zip is slipping more than 4 percent and WiseTech Global is declining more than 1 percent.
Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is edging down 0.5 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.2 percent and ANZ Banking is edging up 0.5 percent. Westpac is flat.
Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.5 percent, Gold Road Resources is losing more than 3 percent, Resolute Mining is declining more than 2 percent and Evolution Mining is down more than1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.3 percent and
In other news, shares in Link Administration surged more than 6 percent after the it said it will consider a sweetened A$2.34 billion takeover bid from Canadian cloud-based software firm Dye & Durham.
Shares in Chalice Mining are soaring more than 9 percent after it announced a new nickel-copper-PGE sulphide zone intersected in initial drilling at the Dampier Target.
In economic news, Australia posted a merchandise trade surplus of A$15.965 billion in May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That beat forecasts for a surplus of A$10.725 billion and was up from the upwardly revised A$13.248 billion surplus in April (originally A$10.495 billion). Exports rose 9.5 percent on month after adding 1.0 percent in April, while imports added 5.8 percent after sinking 1.0 percent in the previous month.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.681 on Thursday.
The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Thursday, recouping some of the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying just below the 26,300 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, even as traders digested the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting amid worries persistent inflation and interest rate hikes could push towards a recession.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,298.66, up 191.01 points or 0.73 percent, after touching a high of 26,339.50 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is flat and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are edging up 0.5 percent each.
In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 1 percent each, while Advantest is gaining almost 1 percent.
In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is flat and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.3 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 1 percent.
Among the major exporters, Sony is gaining more than 1 percent and Panasonic is edging up 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.4 percent. Canon is flat.
Among the other major gainers, Aeon is soaring more than 9 percent and Sumitomo Osaka Cement is gaining more than 4 percent, while Yokohama Rubber and Z Holdings are adding almost 4 percent each. Kikkoman is up 2.5 percent.
Conversely, Pacific Metals is losing more than 4 percent, while J. Front Retailing and Takashimaya are declining almost 4 percent each. Toho Zinc and Isetan Mitsukoshi are slipping more than 3 percent each, while NTN, Konami Group, Marubeni, Keisei Electric Railway, Rakuten Group, Sumitomo Metal Mining, Mitsui Mining & Smelting and Dowa Holdings are sliding almost 3 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 135 yen-range on Thursday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan and South Korea are up 1.9 and 1.7 percent, respectively. China, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.3 percent each. New Zealand and Hong Kong are down 0.1 and 0.6 percent, respectively. Singapore is relatively flat.
On Wall Street, stocks settled modestly higher on Wednesday, gaining in strength in late afternoon trades after the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting showed the central bank was committed to bringing down inflation. Technology stocks had a good outing once again, extending gains from the previous session.
The major averages all ended on the positive side after moving along the flat line for much of the day’s session. The Dow settled with a gain of 69.86 points or 0.23 percent at 31,037.68 and the S&P 500 ended higher by 13.69 points or 0.36 percent at 3,845.08, while the Nasdaq closed higher by 39.61 points or 0.35 percent at 11,361.85.
The major European markets all also moved to the upside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 1.17 percent, Germany’s DAX surged 1.56 percent, and France’s CAC 40 jumped 2.03 percent.
Crude oil futures settled lower Wednesday amid concerns about outlook for energy demand due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in China and fears over a possible recession, while a strong greenback also weighed. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August ended lower by $0.97 or 1 percent at $98.53 a barrel.
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