Asian Markets Trade Mixed

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Thursday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, on renewed concerns over the outlook for interest rates following the hawkish remarks by US Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who reiterated the Fed is likely to continue raising interest rates in an effort to contain stubbornly elevated inflation. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday.

The Fed left rates unchanged last week, but the central bank’s latest projections suggest it plans to resume raising rates later this year, forecasting a rate of 5.6 percent by the end of 2023. The forecast for additional rate hikes come as Powell noted inflation pressures continue to run high and said the process of getting inflation back to the Fed’s 2 percent target has a “long way to go.”

The Australian stock market is sharply lower on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,200 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, dragged by weakness across most sectors, led by strong losses in mining and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 116.90 points or 1.60 percent to 7,198.00, after hitting a low of 7,197.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 120.10 points or 1.60 percent to 7,385.50. Australian stocks ended notably lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are losing more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is declining almost 2 percent. Mineral Resources is flat.

Oil stocks are mixed. Santos and Woodside Energy are edging down 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while Origin Energy is edging up 0.1 percent and Beach energy is flat.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent, Appen is declining more than 2 percent, Xero is down almost 3 percent and WiseTech Global is slipping 2.5 percent, while Zip is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are all losing almost 1 percent each.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is losing almost 3 percent, Newcrest Mining is down almost 1 percent, Resolute Mining is declining more than 3 percent and Evolution Mining is slipping more than 1 percent. Gold Road Resources is plunging more than 8 percent after it slashed annual production outlook for the Gruyere mine.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.679 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is relative flat after the morning session on Thursday and after the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying below the 33,600 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with gains in index heavyweights and financial stocks offset by weakness in technology stocks which mirrored their peers on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 33,575.63, up 0.49 points or 0.00 percent, after hitting a low of 33,432.19 and a high of 33,641.46 earlier. Japanese stocks closed notably higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.3 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is gaining more than 1 percent and Honda is adding almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing more than 1 percent, Tokyo Electron is declining almost 3 percent and Advantest is slipping more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining 2.5 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are adding almost 2 percent each.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic is gaining almost 3 percent, Canon is adding more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is up almost 1 percent, while Sony is edging down 0.5 percent.

There are no other major losers.

Conversely, Marubeni is gaining 4.5 percent, while Sojitz and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are adding almost 4 percent each. Itochu, Sompo Holdings, Kansai Electric Power, Chiba Bank and Nippon Sheet Glass are advancing more than 3 percent each, while Japan Exchange Group, Tokyo Electric Power and Kajima are up almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 141 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each, while South Korea and Malaysia are up 0.4 and 0.6 percent, respectively. China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are closed for the Dragon Boat Festival.

On Wall Street, stock saw further downside during trading on Wednesday after moving mostly lower over the two previous sessions. The major averages all finished the day in negative territory, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the slide.

The Nasdaq tumbled 165.10 or 1.2 percent to 13,502.20, continuing to give back ground after ending last Thursday’s trading at its best closing level in over a year. The S&P 500 also fell 23.02 points or 0.5 percent to 4,365.69, while the Dow dipped 102.35 points or 0.3 percent to 33,951.52.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index slid by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices climbed higher on Wednesday amid hopes about the outlook for demand in the U.S. and forecasts for a drawdown in U.S. crude stocks last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended higher by $1.34 at $72.53 a barrel, recovering from a low of $70.80.

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