Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Friday, despite the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, as the markets remain concerned over the outlook for interest rates after the US Fed’s minutes offered few surprises but reiterated that the central bank will continue to raise interest rates in its battle against inflation. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Friday, recouping some of the losses in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,300 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains in technology, energy and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 18.00 points or 0.25 percent to 7,303.40, after touching a high of 7,315.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 15.30 points or 0.20 percent to 7,507.80. Australian markets ended notably lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is losing almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is declining almost 2 percent and Mineral Resources is down more than 1 percent. Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are higher. Beach energy and Origin Energy are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Santos is edging up 0.4 percent and Woodside Energy is adding almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is surging more than 7 percent, Zip is adding almost 1 percent and Xero is edging up 0.1 percent, while WiseTech Global and Appen are gaining almost 2 percent each.

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

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

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.682 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains in technology and exporter stocks, even as the domestic inflation hit the highest in over four-decades.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,398.78, up 294.46 points or 1.09 percent, after touching a high of 27,465.90 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday ahead of the holiday on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is soaring more than 8 percent, while Tokyo Electron is surging more than 6 percent and Screen Holdings is gaining almost 5 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are losing almost 1 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down more than 1 percent.

Among major exporters, Panasonic and Canon are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Sony is advancing almost 2 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, OKUMA is surging more than 5 percent, while Tokuyama and Yokohama Rubber are gaining more than 4 percent. SMC, Ebara and Nikon are adding almost 4 percent, while Taiyo Yuden, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are advancing more than 3 percent each. Mitsubishi Chemical Group, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Yaskawa Electric are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Daiichi Sankyo is losing more than 3 percent, while Trend Micro and Takeda Pharmaceutical are declining almost 3 percent each.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is down 1.5 percent, while New Zealand, China, South Korea and Malaysia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. Indonesia and Singapore are up 0.5 and 0.1 percent, respectively. Taiwan is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks went on a roller coaster ride during trading on Thursday, with the major averages swinging back and forth across the unchanged line after ending Wednesday’s trading narrowly mixed. After seeing initial strength, the major averages turned lower over the course of morning trading before recovering in the afternoon.

The major averages all eventually ended the day in positive territory. The Dow rose 108.82 points or 0.3 percent to 33,153.91, the Nasdaq advanced 83.33 points or 0.7 percent to 11,590.40 and the S&P 500 climbed 21.27 points or 0.5 percent to 4,012.32.

Meanwhile, the major European markets finished the day mixed. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

After trending lower in recent sessions, the price of crude oil showed a strong move back to the upside on Thursday, despite a bigger than expected increase in U.S. crude oil inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery spiked $1.44 or 2.0 percent to $75.39 a barrel.

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