Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Wednesday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street on upbeat economic data and on hopes of more stimulus measures. Nevertheless, investors remained cautious due to a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.
The Australian market drifted lower after a positive start.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 6.00 points or 0.10 percent to 5,948.40, after touching a high of 5,989.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is also down 6.00 points or 0.10 percent to 6,063.30. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Tuesday.
Oil stocks are mostly lower after crude oil prices declined overnight. Oil Search is lower by more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down 0.2 percent, while Santos is adding 0.4 percent.
Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is higher by 0.6 percent, BHP is adding 0.5 percent and Rio Tinto is up 0.3 percent.
The big four banks – Westpac, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking – are rising in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent.
Shareholders of internet provider TPG Telecom are scheduled to vote today on the company’s proposed merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia at an extraordinary general meeting. TPG Telecom’s shares are higher by 0.7 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6928, compared to $0.6909 on Tuesday.
The Japanese market is rising following the gains on Wall Street. Nevertheless, investors remain cautious and the safe-haven yen strengthened due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 93.78 points or 0.42 percent to 22,642.83, after touching a high of 22,655.68 in early trades. Japanese shares closed higher on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is declining almost 2 percent, while Fast Retailing is advancing almost 2 percent.
The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Panasonic is declining more than 1 percent and Canon is down 0.3 percent, while Sony is adding 0.5 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is unchanged.
In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is down 0.2 percent, while Advantest is edging up 0.1 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is advancing more than 1 percent, while Honda is lower by 0.4 percent each.
In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is declining more than 1 percent and Inpex is down 0.6 percent after crude oil prices slipped overnight.
In economic news, Japan will see final April figures for its leading and coincident indexes today.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 106 yen-range on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Indonesia are higher by more than 1 percent each, while New Zealand is advancing almost 1 percent and Taiwan is also rising. Meanwhile, Shanghai is edging higher. Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are edging lower.
On Wall Street, stocks extended gains on Tuesday from the previous session after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro clarified his remarks about the U.S.-China trade deal, saying it was continuing in place. Trump also sought to reassure investors with a post on Twitter declaring the trade deal is “fully intact” and saying he hopes China will “continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement!” Further, stocks benefited from upbeat economic data out of Europe, with a reading on private sector activity jumping to 47.5 in June from 31.9 in May.
The Nasdaq advanced 74.89 points or 0.7 percent to 10,131.37, while the Dow climbed 131.14 points or 0.5 percent to 26,156.10 and the S&P 500 rose 13.43 points or 0.4 percent to 3,131.29.
The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index spiked by 2.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
Crude oil prices edged lower on Tuesday, giving up early gains, as worries about energy demand resurfaced amid reports showing a sharp surge in coronavirus cases across several states in America. WTI crude for August ended down $0.36 or about 0.9 percent at $40.37 a barrel.
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