Asian Markets Mostly Lower Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Tuesday following the negative cues from Wall Street amid the recent surge in coronavirus cases in several parts of the world. Investors also turned cautious ahead of two key Senate run-off elections in Georgia later today that will determine which party controls the Senate and could have a major impact on President-elect Joe Biden’s economic policies.

The Australian market is declining following the negative cues from Wall Street. News that New South Wales recorded four new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Tuesday after reporting zero cases on Monday also dampened sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 23.30 points or 0.35 percent to 6,660.90, after falling to a low of 6,635.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 21.00 points or 0.30 percent to 6,932.70. Australian shares closed notably higher on Monday.

In the banking sector, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are declining in a range of 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent. National Australia Bank is losing more than 1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search is lower by almost 2 percent, while Santos i and Woodside Petroleum are declining more than 1 percent each after crude oil prices fell overnight.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is rising more than 2 percent, Rio Tinto is higher by 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is advancing more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are also higher after gold prices rose to a two-month high overnight. Newcrest Mining is rising almost 3 percent and Evolution Mining is adding more than 1 percent.

Qantas Airways has commenced the sale of seats on international flights across its network that are expected to start from July 1 this year. However, the airline’s shares are lower by almost 2 percent.

The Japanese market is extending losses from the previous session following the weak cues from Wall Street. News that the Japanese government plans to declare a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures as early as Thursday also weighed on the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 60.84 points or 0.22 percent to 27,197.54, after touching a low of 27,116.49. Japanese stocks closed notably lower on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is rising more than 2 percent.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is gaining almost 3 percent, Canon is rising almost 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 1 percent and Sony is adding 0.5 percent.

Among automakers, Honda is declining more than 1 percent and Toyota is lower by 0.6 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is higher by 0.4 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Screen Holdings is rising almost 4 percent, while Sumco Corp. and JTEKT Corp are higher by more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Hino Motors and Credit Saison are losing more than 2 percent each. Yamaha Motor and Hitachi Construction Machinery are lower by almost 2 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 103 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are also lower. New Zealand is rising more than 1 percent, while Indonesia and Taiwan are also higher. South Korea is little changed.

On Wall Street, stocks failed to sustain an initial move to the upside and closed sharply lower on the first trading day of the New Year on Monday amid concerns about the recent spike in coronavirus cases in several parts of the world, with a new strain of the virus being detected in the U.S. for the first time. Traders may also have been reluctant to continue pushing stocks higher amid uncertainty ahead of two key Senate runoffs in Georgia on Tuesday. The outcome of the runoff elections will determine which party controls the Senate and could have a major impact on what President-elect Joe Biden is able to accomplish.

The Dow slumped 382.59 points or 1.3 percent to 30,223.89, the Nasdaq plunged 189.84 points or 1.5 percent to 12,698.45 and the S&P 500 tumbled 55.42 points or 1.5 percent to 3,700.65.

The major European markets moved to the upside on Monday, but closed well off their best levels. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.7 percent and the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil futures ended sharply lower on Monday amid concerns over outlook for energy demand and on news about the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC and allies’ failure to reach an agreement on crude output. WTI crude for February ended down $0.90 or about 1.9 percent at $47.62 a barrel.

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