Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders indulged in bargain hunting in the oversold bourses, particularly among the technology shares, even as the possibility of a global recession remains. Traders also digest comments from US Fed Chair Jerome Powell on the second day of his testimony. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.

In his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell again stressed that the Fed hopes to rein in the worst inflation in four decades without pushing the economy into a recession, but acknowledged “that path has gotten more and more challenging.”

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday after being in the red most of the morning session, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 6,500 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, supported by technology stocks, partially offset by weakness in materials and energy stocks amid tumbling commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 28.70 points or 0.44 percent to 6,557.10, after touching a high of 6,561.30 and a low of 6,501.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 47.30 points or 0.71 percent to 6,738.70. Australian markets ended modestly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are declining almost 2 percent each, while Mineral Resources is edging down 0.4 percent and OZ Minerals is slipping more than 3 percent.

Oil stocks are lower. Origin Energy is losing more than 1 percent, while Woodside Energy, Santos and Beach energy are declining more than 2 percent each.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 3 percent, Xero is advancing almost 4 percent, Afterpay owner Block is soaring almost 9 percent, Appen is adding 5.5 percent and Zip is surging almost 8 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are losing almost 1 percent each, while Westpac is down almost 2 percent and ANZ Banking is declining more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are losing more than 2 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is adding almost 1 percent and Resolute Mining is flat.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.690 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving above the 26,300 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, aided by strength in technology stocks, which mirrored their peers on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,362.24, up 190.99 points or 0.73 percent, after touching a high of 26,391.11 earlier. Japanese shares closed slightly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is declining more than 1 percent and Toyota is losing 1.5 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining 3.5 percent, Screen Holdings is adding 2.5 percent and Tokyo Electron is advancing almost 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 2 percent and Mizuho Financial is declining more than 2 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among major exporters, Panasonic is edging up 0.4 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 1 percent, while Sony is edging down 0.3 percent and Canon is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the other major losers, M3 is surging almost 6 percent, while Daikin Industries and Shionogi & Co. are gaining more than 4 percent each. Shin-Etsu Chemical and Ajinomoto are adding almost 4 percent each, while CyberAgent is up more than 3 percent.

Conversely, Mitsubishi Motors is plummeting almost 7 percent, IHI is plunging almost 6 percent, Subaru is losing more than 5 percent and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is declining almost 5 percent, while Hitachi Construction Machinery and Sompo Holdings is down more than 3 percent each.

In economic news, overall consumer prices in Japan were up 2.5 percent on year in May, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That was in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous month. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, overall inflation rose 0.2 percent – again in line with expectations and slowing from 0.4 percent in the previous month. Core CPI – which excludes the volatile prices of food – climbed 2.1 percent on year, matching forecasts and unchanged from the April reading.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 134 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea is surging 2.1 percent, while Hong Kong and Taiwan are up 1.2 percent each. China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.3 and 0.8 percent each. New Zealand is closed on account of Matariki day.

On Wall Street, stocks extended the volatility seen in the previous session, fluctuating over the course of the trading day on Friday. Benefiting from the some late-day strength, the major averages all ended the session firmly in positive territory.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new highs for the session going into the close of trading. The Dow climbed 194.23 points or 0.6 percent to 30,677.36, the Nasdaq surged 179.11 points or 1.6 percent to 11,232.19 and the S&P 500 jumped 35.84 points or 1 percent at 3,795.73.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent.

Oil futures slid on Thursday, losing ground for a second straight session on concerns about outlook for energy demand amid rising possibility of a recession. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $1.92 or 1.8 percent at $104.27 a barrel.

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