Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders reacted to mixed US earnings news from several big-name companies. Overall trading activity was somewhat subdued, with a lack of major U.S. economic data keeping some traders on the sidelines. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

Traders also continue to express concerns that the coronavirus situation in the region and other countries, particularly in the U.S. and the U.K., could dent the pace of global economic recovery.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday, after ending relatively flat in the previous two session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 above the 7,400 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with energy and mining stocks providing support amid higher commodity prices. Meanwhile, the upside is limited amid the domestic coronavirus situation, particularly in Victoria, even though the lockdowns have been lifted.

Victoria recorded 1,461 new locally acquired cases and seven deaths on Sunday, with the total active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria standing at 24,831. NSW reported 294 new locally acquired cases and four deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 29.30 points or 0.40 percent to 7,444.80, after touching a high of 7,471.70 and a low of 7,415.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 46.00 points or 0.60 percent to 7,772.80. Australian stocks closed flat on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals and OZ Minerals are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals and BHP Group are adding almost 1 percent each. Mineral Resources is surging almost 8 percent after announcing that the Wodgina Lithium Mine will restart operations, as the company plans to establish long life operations for lithium alongside its iron ore operations.

Oil stocks are mostly higher, with Oil Search and Santos gaining more than 2 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum Origin Energy are up almost 3 percent each. Beach energy is adding more than 3 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay is losing more than 2 percent and Appen is down more than 1 percent, while WiseTech Global is edging up 0.2 percent and Xero is flat.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources is gaining more than 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is up 1.5 percent, while Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are adding more than 1 percent each. Resolute Mining is flat.

Among the big four banks, and Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.3 percent each, while ANZ Banking is adding 0.5 percent and Commonwealth Bank is up almost 1 percent.

Shares in Telstra are up more than 2 percent after it agreed to buy South Pacific telco operator Digicel from Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien for $2.1 billion, with $1.9 billion of funding to come from the Australian government.

Shares in Smartgroup are plunging almost 14 percent after the salary packager ended takeover discussions after a consortium led by private equity group TPG cut their $1.4 billion bid for the group.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.748 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower in choppy trading on Monday, giving up the modest gains in the previous sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 28,500 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with technology stocks dragging the market. Traders are also cautious in taking new positions ahead of the looming general elections.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,520.35, down 284.50 points or 0.99 percent, after hitting a low of 28,472.55 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 4 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is declining more than 4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.2 percent and Toyota is losing more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 1 percent, Screen Holdings is declining more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is down almost 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.5 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 1 percent, while Mizuho Financial is flat.

The major exporters are higher, with Panasonic gaining more than 4 percent, Sony adding more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric edging up 0.3 percent, while Canon is flat. is flat.

Among the other major losers, Takara Holdings is losing almost 3 percent, while UBE Industries, KDDI and Ajinomoto are lower by more than 2 percent each.

Conversely, Chugai Pharmaceutical is gaining almost 8 percent, Toho Zinc is adding almost 5 percent and Kobe Steel is up more than 4 percent, while Tokai Carbon and Nippon Sheet Glass are higher by almost 4 percent each. Sumitomo Heavy Industries and JFE Holdings are up more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 113 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea and China are higher by between 0.1 and 0.4 percent each. Taiwan is lower by 0.1 percent, while Singapore and Indonesia are flat. New Zealand is closed for Labor Day.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday, following the upward trend seen over the past several sessions. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq moved to the downside, the Dow reached a new record closing high.

The Dow fluctuated over the course of the session but ended the day up 73.94 points or 0.2 percent at 35,677.02. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq slid 125.50 points or 0.8 percent to 15,090.20 and the S&P 500 edged down 4.88 points or 0.1 percent to 4,544.90 after ending Thursday’s trading at a record closing high.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.2 percent, Germany’s DAX gained 0.46 percent and France’s CAC 40 surged up 0.71 percent.

Crude oil futures settled notably higher on Friday amid expectations supply in global oil markets will continue to remain tight. Weaker natural gas and coal prices limited oil’s uptick. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended higher by $1.26 or about 1.5 percent at $83.76 a barrel.

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