Asian Markets Mostly Higher Amid Cautious Trade
Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday as upbeat US monthly jobs data renewed optimism about strong economic growth and outweighed concerns about inflation. Investors are also cautious after a recent spike in coronavirus cases across several markets in the region that has led to lockdowns and restrictions in some major areas. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.
Worries about rising cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus and travel restrictions in several countries continued to weigh, placing a cap on markets’ upside
The Australian stock market is slightly higher on Monday, extending the gains of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 above the 7,300 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday on strong US Jobs report. However, traders continue to be concerned by the domestic coronavirus infections in New South Wales and the related lockdown and restrictions, though eased slightly.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 6.00 points or 0.08 percent to 7,314.60, after touching a high of 7,343.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 2.40 points or 0.03 percent to 7,589.50. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are edging down 0.3 percent each, while Rio Tinto is edging up 0.2 percent. Mineral Resources and OZ Minerals are gaining almost 1 percent each.
Among Oil stocks, Oil Search is edging down 0.1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy and Santos are gaining more than 1 percent each. Beach energy is flat.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay and Appen edging down 0.5 percent each, while WiseTech Global is gaining more than 1 percent and Xero is edging up 0.3 percent.
Gold miners are higher. Evolution Mining, Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is adding more than 2 percent and Resolute Mining is edging up 0.4 percent.
Among the big four banks, Westpac is edging up 0.1 percent, while Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are edging down 0.2 percent each.
In other news, shares in Sydney Airport are skyrocketing almost 33 percent after Australia’s biggest and busiest airport received an unsolicited A$8.25 per share or A$22.3 billion ($16.7 billion) cash takeover offer from a consortium of infrastructure investors led by IFM Investors, QSuper and Global Infrastructure Management.
Travel and hospitality stocks are gaining on the Sydney Airport news. Qantas rising losing almost 5 percent, Flight Centre is gaining more than 3 percent and Corporate Travel is adding almost 3 percent, while Webjet and Qantas are up more than 2 percent each.
Tabcorp Holdings Ltd said on Monday it would spin off its Lotteries & Keno business into a separately listed entity. The stock is down almost 4 percent.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.752 on Monday.
Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Monday, giving up all the gains of the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 29,700 level, ignoring the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday on strong US Jobs data. Investors continue to be spooked after Tokyo confirmed 518 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday.
There are also reports that the Japanese government is potentially keeping the quasi-state of emergency covering Tokyo in place during the Summer Olympics as infections continue to accelerate after the recent slight respite.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,611.03, down 172.25 points or 0.60 percent, after hitting a low of 28,581.08 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Friday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 1 percent, while Mazda and Toyota are edging down 0.3 percent each. Nissan Motor is adding almost 1 percent.
The major exporters are weak, with Canon and Panasonic edging down 0.2 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is losing almost 2 percent. Sony is down more than 1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 1 percent, Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.2 percent and Screen Holdings is adding more than 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are losing more than 1 percent each.
Among the other major losers, JFE Holdings is losing almost 4 percent, Daiwa Securities Group is down more than 3 percent and Nippon Steel is declining almost 3 percent. Showa Denko K.K., Kobe Steel and IHI are down more than 2 percent each.
Conversely, Fujikura is gaining more than 3 percent and Mitsui E&S Holdings is adding more than 2 percent, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Tokyu Fudosan Holdings are up almost 2 percent each.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 111 yen-range on Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is gaining 1 percent, while New Zealand, China, Singapore and South Korea are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. Hong Kong and Malaysia are down 0.2 and 0.4 percent, respectively. Indonesia is flat.
On Wall Street, stocks showed a strong move to the upside over the course of the trading day on Friday, with traders reacting positively to the closely watched monthly jobs report. The advance lifted all three major averages to new record closing highs.
The major averages reached new highs going into the close of trading. The Dow rose 152.82 points or 0.4 percent to 34,786.35, the Nasdaq advanced 116.95 points or 0.8 percent to 14,639.33 and the S&P 500 climbed 32.40 points or 0.8 percent to 4,352.34.
Meanwhile, the major European markets ended the day mixed. While the German DAX Index climbed by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both closed slightly below the unchanged line.
Crude oil futures settled marginally lower on Friday, as markets looked ahead to the outcome of the OPEC+ meeting. The West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended down by $0.07 or about 0.1% at $75.16 a barrel.
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