Asian Markets Trade Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are a sea of red on Wednesday, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, on concerns of elevated inflation and the potential economic impact from the widely expected U.S. monetary tightening continued to weigh on investors as they digest the latest earnings news. Lingering worries also remain about the Covid-19 lockdowns in China and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Asian Markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

The Australian stock market is notably lower on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,300 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with technology stocks mirroring their peers on Nasdaq. Traders are also concerned about a slowdown in top commodities consumer China and aggressive global interest rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 36.50 points or 0.50 percent to 7,281.50, after hitting a low of 7,233.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 37.90 points or 0.50 percent to 7,566.10. Australian stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, OZ Minerals is losing almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is down more than 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals and BHP Group are edging down 0.3 percent each. Mineral Resources is gaining almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Woodside Petroleum is gaining almost 2 percent, Origin Energy is edging up 0.3 percent and Santos is adding almost 1 percent, while Beach energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global and Xero are losing more than 2 percent each, while Zip and Appen are declining more than 5 percent each. Block is slipping more than 6 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is losing almost 2 percent and Westpac is down more than 1 percent, while National Australia Bank is declining almost 2 percent and Commonwealth Bank is slipping more than 1 percent.

Among gold miners, Gold Road Resources is losing more than 1 percent, Resolute Mining is declining almost 3 percent, Evolution Mining is down almost 1 percent, Northern Star Resources is slipping more than 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.5 percent.

In economic news, consumer prices in Australia climbed 5.1 percent on year in the first quarter of 2022, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday – beating forecasts for an increase of 4.6 percent and accelerating from 3.5 percent in the previous three months. On a quarterly basis, inflation jumped 2.1 percent – again exceeding expectations for a gain of 1.7 percent and up from 1.3 percent in the three months prior.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s trimmed mean came in at 1.4 percent on quarter and 3.7 percent on year, up from 1.0 percent on quarter and 2.6 percent on year in the previous quarter. The RBA’s weighted median was up 1.0 percent on quarter and 3.2 percent on year after rising 0.9 percent on quarter and 2.7 percent on year three months earlier.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.716 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Wednesday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 losing 500 points to fall below the 27,200 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with technology stocks mirroring their peers on Nasdaq. Traders are also concerned about a slowdown in top commodities consumer China and aggressive global interest rate hikes.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,198.79, down 501.32 points or 1.88 percent, after hitting a low of 26,051.04 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 2 percent and Toyota is edging down 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are losing more than 3 percent each, while Advantest is declining more than 1 percent.

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

Among the major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is losing almost 2 percent, while Sony and Panasonic are down more than 1 percent each. Canon is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among the other major losers, Fanuc is plunging more than 7 percent and Japan Exchange Group is slipping almost 6 percent, while CyberAgent, Recruit Holdings, Nomura Holdings and Alps Alpine are declining almost 5 percent each. M3 and Olympus are down more than 4 percent each, while Fuji Electric, Yokohama Rubber, Taiyo Yuden, TDK, Hino Motors, Nitto Denko and AGC are losing more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Sapporo Holdings is soaring almost 8 percent, Osaka Gas is surging more than 6 percent, Asahi Group is advancing more than 5 percent, Isetan Mitsukoshi is gaining more than 4 percent and Kirin Holdings is up almost 4 percent, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Takashimaya and Nippon Yusen K.K. are rising more than 3 percent each. Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are adding almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 127 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is plunging 2.2 percent, while New Zealand and South Korea are losing 1.1 percent each. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are lower by between 0.3 and 0.6 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a substantial move back to the downside during trading on Tuesday after recovering from an early sell-off in the previous session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq led the way lower, plunging to its lowest closing level in over a year, while the Dow and the S&P 500 tumbled to one-month closing lows.

The major averages fell to new lows for the day going into the close of trading. The Dow dove 809.28 points or 2.4 percent to 33,240.19, the Nasdaq plummeted 514.11 points or 4 percent to 12,490.74 and the S&P 500 slumped 120.92 points or 2.8 percent to 4,175.20.

European stocks also moved mostly lower over the course of the session. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index bucked the downtrend and inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index plunged by 1.2 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher Tuesday as concerns about outlook for energy demand eased after the Chinese central bank said that it would support small businesses and industries affected by the pandemic. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $3.16 or 3.2 percent at $101.70 a barrel.

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