Asian Markets Trading Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with continued spike in crude oil prices and as traders reacted to much better than expected U.S. employment data, which is good for economic recovery but spurred concerns for the outlook on interest rates. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

Meanwhile, worries about the fast spreading coronavirus Omicron variant’s impact on global economic growth continues to impact market sentiment.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,100 level, follow the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness in financial and gold mining stocks partially offset by strength in energy and materials stocks.

Meanwhile, traders remain concerned over the domestic Covid-19 cases, though the daily new cases are on a steady decline. New South Wales reported 7,437 new cases and 14 deaths on Sunday. Victoria also reported 8,275 new cases and seven deaths, Queensland reported 4,701 new cases and 19 deaths, South Australia reported 1,147 new cases and five deaths, Northern Territory reported 831 new cases and Tasmania reported 443 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 26.90 points or 0.38 percent to 7,093.30, after hitting a low of 7,046.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 23.90 points or 0.32 percent to 7,395.00. Australian stocks closed notably higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, OZ Minerals and BHP Group are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is edging up 0.2 percent, Mineral Resources is adding more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent.

Oil stocks are higher, with Beach energy and Woodside Petroleum adding more than 1 percent each, while Santos is gaining almost 1 percent and Origin Energy is advancing almost 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Appen is losing almost 4 percent and Zip is declining more than 1 percent, while WiseTech Global is gaining more than 2 percent each, Xero is edging up 0.3 percent and Block is adding almost 3 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Evolution Mining is edging down 0.5 percent, Gold Road Resources is slipping more than 1 percent, Northern Star Resources is declining almost 1 percent and Resolute Mining is losing almost 2 percent. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent, Westpac is edging down 0.3 percent and National Australia Bank is declining almost 2 percent. ANZ Banking is slipping more than 2 percent after it reported a marginal increase in home loan balance in the first quarter, but lower margins.

Shares in Magellan Financial are plunging more than 11 percent after revealing dwindling FUM numbers.

Share in GrainCorp are soaring more than 13 percent after another earnings upgrade, bolstered by a bumper crop.

In economic news, the total value of retail sales in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 4.4 percent on month in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday – coming in at A$31.926 billion. That follows the 7.3 percent spike in November. On a yearly basis, retail sales were up 4.8 percent in December. For the fourth quarter of 2021, retail sales were up 8.2 percent on quarter and 3.6 percent on year at A$92.327 billion.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.708 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Monday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 27,200 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with technology stocks leading the decline, partially offset by gains in financial stocks.

Meanwhile, traders also remain concerned about the spike in domestic coronavirus cases, with Japan topping 1,00,000 daily new cases for the first time on Saturday and hitting record daily highs for the past two weeks. While 34 of Japan’s 47 prefectures are already under quasi-state of emergency, there could be a move to enforce a stronger state of emergency is some.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,203.66, down 236.33 points or 0.86 percent, after hitting a low of 27,085.32 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 4 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging down 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing 3.5 percent, Tokyo Electron is declining almost 2 percent and Screen Holdings is down more than 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 2 percent, while Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are adding more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic losing almost 1 percent and Canon edging down 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.5 percent. Sony is flat.

Among the other major losers, Taiyo Yuden is plunging almost 12 percent, Olympus is losing almost 9 percent, Sumco is slipping almost 8 percent, Tokai Carbon is declining more than 4 percent and Minebea Mitsumi is down almost 4 percent.

Conversely, Nissan Chemical is gaining more than 5 percent and Dai-ichi Life Holdings is adding more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 115 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, China is surging 1.7 percent and Indonesia is gaining 1 percent, while Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. South Korea is losing 1.1 percent and Hong Kong is down 0.8 percent. New Zealand is closed For Waitangi Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday, with investors reacting to another batch of earnings updates, and digesting the non-farm payrolls data for the month of January.

Among the major averages, the Dow edged lower by 21.42 points or 0.06 percent to 35,089.74. The S&P 500 advanced 23.09 points or 0.52 percent to 4,500.53, while the Nasdaq climbed 219.19 points or 1.58 percent to settle at 14,098.01.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. Germany’s DAX declined 1.75 percent, and France’s CAC 40 drifted down 0.77 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.17 percent.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Friday and lifted the most active crude futures contracts to their highest close in over seven years. Rising concerns over supply disruptions fueled the rally, as did mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $2.04 or 2.3 percent at $92.31 a barrel, the highest settlement since September 29, 2014. WTI crude oil futures gained more than 6 percent in the week.

Source: Read Full Article