Asian Markets Trade Mixed

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Friday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, dragged by weakness in technology stocks, which mirrored their peers on the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Traders also remain cautious ahead to next week’s US Fed monetary policy meeting, where the Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by another quarter point. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Friday, giving up the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying a tad above the 7,300 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with losses in gold miners and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 24.80 points or 0.34 percent to 7,300.20, after hitting a low of 7,288.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 27.60 points or 0.37 percent to 7,514.30. Australian markets ended slightly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto and BHP Group are edging up 0.1 to 0.4 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.4 percent and Mineral Resources is losing more than 6 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed. Santos and Origin Energy are edging down 0.3 percent each, while Beach energy is gaining almost 1 percent and Woodside Energy is edging up 0.3 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is down more than 2 percent and Xero is declining more than 4 percent, while WiseTech Global and Appen are losing more than 3 percent each. Zip is advancing more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging down 0.4 percent each, while National Australia Bank is edging up 0.5 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources and Resolute Mining are losing more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is declining more than 3 percent, Newcrest Mining is slipping more than 5 percent and Gold Road Resources is down almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.678 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower in choppy trading on Friday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 falling below the 32,500 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with strong losses in technology stocks, which mirrored their peers on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 32,417.92, down 72.60 points or 0.22 percent, after hitting a low of 32,080.95 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 5 percent each, while Screen Holdings is down more than 3 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 1 percent.

Among major exporters, Panasonic is gaining more than 2 percent, while Sony, Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each.

Among other major losers, Renesas Electronics is losing more than 3 percent.

Conversely, Nidec is surging more than 9 percent, Minebea Mitsumi is gaining almost 4 percent and Hino Motors is adding almost 3 percent.

In economic news, overall consumer prices in Japan were up 3.3 percent on year in June, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 3.5 percent but was up from 3.2 percent in May. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, inflation rose 0.1 percent – in line with expectations following the flat reading in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 140 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.2 percent, while China, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.4 percent each. Taiwan is down 0.8 percent, while New Zealand and South Korea are lower by 0.1 percent each. Singapore is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a starkly mixed performance during trading on Thursday after generally moving higher over the past several sessions. While the Dow closed higher for the ninth straight session, reaching its best closing level in over a year, the tech-heavy Nasdaq pulled back sharply following recent strength.

The Dow ended the session well off its best levels of the day but still closed up 163.97 points or 0.5 percent at 35,225.18, while the Nasdaq plunged 294.71 points or 2.1 percent to 14,063.31 and the S&P 500 slid 30.85 points or 0.7 percent to 4,354.87.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both advanced by 0.8 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed higher on Thursday and lifted the August series futures contract to a positive close on the expiration day amid fears of declining supplies from Russia. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August settled at $75.63 a barrel, gaining $0.28 or 0.4 percent.

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