Asian Markets Mostly Higher As Crude Oil Spikes

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, aided by gains in energy stocks amid stronger oil prices after OPEC+ announced a surprise production cut of more than 1 million barrels a day. However, technology stocks ebbed on fears over the outlook for interest rates. Asian markets closed mixed on Monday.

The Australian stock market slightly lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous six sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,200 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders are treading cautiously ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate decision later in the day. The RBA is expected to lift interest rates for the eleventh straight month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 4.10 points or 0.06 percent to 7,218.90, after touching a high of 7,236.50 and a low of 7,211.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 2.40 points or 0.03 percent to 7,414.00. Australian stocks closed notably higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and Mineral Resources are losing almost 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is edging up 0.1 percent and Fortescue Metals is also edging up 0.5 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy and Santos are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Woodside Energy is edging up 0.3 percent. Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 2 percent and Appen is edging down 0.4 percent, while WiseTech Global and Xero are edging up 0.2 to 0.4 percent each. Zip is flat.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources and Resolute Mining are gaining more than 2 percent each, while Newcrest Mining is adding 1.5 percent, Evolution Mining is advancing 3.5 percent and Gold Road Resources is up more than 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while ANZ Banking is gaining almost 1 percent.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The RBA is widely expected to hike its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points, from 3.60 percent to 3.85 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.678 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 28,200 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with financial stocks gaining amid easing worries about global banking sector woes.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,243.97, up 55.82 points or 0.20 percent, after touching a high of 28,277.74 earlier. Japanese shares ended notably higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is flat. Among automakers, Honda is adding almost 1 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are edging down 0.1 to 0.4 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.1 percent, while Mizuho Financial is gaining more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed. Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are flat, while Panasonic is edging down 0.4 percent. Sony is edging up 0.1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Nintendo is gaining almost 3 percent.

Conversely, there are no other major losers.

In economic news, the monetary base in Japan was down 1.0 percent on year in March, the Bank of Japan said on Tuesday – coming in at 655.780 trillion yen. That follows the upwardly revised 1.6 percent contraction in February (originally -1.7 percent). The adjusted base was up 13.5 percent, slowing from 31.1 percent a month earlier. For the first quarter of 2023, the monetary base slipped 2.1 percent on year.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 132 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Singapore and South Korea are higher by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each, while Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia are lower by between 0.2 and 0.9 percent each. Taiwan is closed for Children’s Day holiday.

On the Wall Street, stocks ended higher on Monday with those from the energy sector rallying sharply after a surprise production cut announcement by the OPEC+ lifted crude oil prices.

Among the major averages, the Dow ended notably higher after staying firm right through the day’s session. The S&P finished modestly higher after a choppy ride, while the Nasdaq trimmed its losses and settled well off the day’s lows.

The Dow settled with a gain of 327.00 points or 0.98 percent at 33,601.15. The S&P 500 ended up 15.20 points or 0.37 percent at 4,124.51, while the Nasdaq ended lower by 32.45 points or 0.27 percent at 12,189.45.

Meanwhile, the major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index drifted down 0.31 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.54 percent, and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.32 percent.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Monday, buoyed by the decision of OPEC+ oil producers to cut output by around 1.16 million barrels per day. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $4.75 or 6.3 percent at $80.42 a barrel.

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