Asian Markets Track Global Markets Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, as data showing a drop in U.S. wage growth to a 50-year low and a contraction in U.S. service sector activity in the month of December helped ease concerns about aggressive policy tightening by the US Federal Reserve. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,200 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, with gains across most sectors, led by mining stocks after iron ore and gold prices firmed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 45.90 points or 0.65 percent to 7,155.50, after touching a high of 7,186.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 49.70 points or 0.68 percent to 7,358.50. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is edging up 0.2 percent, BHP Group is gaining almost 2 percent and Mineral Resources is advancing more than 3 percent, while Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.5 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are higher. Woodside Energy and Santos are gaining more than 1 percent, while Beach energy is advancing almost 3 percent and Origin Energy is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining almost 4 percent, Appen is adding almost 1 percent, Xero is advancing more than 2 percent, WiseTech Global is up more than 1 percent and Zip is rising almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are strong. Northern Star Resources is gaining more than 1 percent, Evolution Mining, Newcrest Mining are adding more than 2 percent, Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.4 percent and Resolute Mining is surging 4.5 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are gaining almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are adding more than 1 percent each.

In economic news, the total number of building permits issued in Australia in November was down a seasonally adjusted 9.0 percent on month in November, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday – coming in at 13,898. That missed expectations for a decline of 4.0 percent following the 6.0 percent contraction in October. On a yearly basis, permits tumbled 15/1 percent after sinking 6.4 percent in the previous month. The total value of building approved fell 1.5 percent on month in November, following a 0.4 percent fall in October.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.692 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is closed on account of Coming of Age holiday. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Friday.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 131 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan are higher by between 2.1 and 1.4 percent each, while China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.4 and 0.7 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.1 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a fine performance on Friday after opening on a slightly cautious note, and the major averages all ended with strong gains.

The Dow ended with a gain of 700.53 points or 2.13 percent at 33,630.61. The S&P 500 surged 86.98 points or 2.28 percent at 3,895.08, while the Nasdaq climbed 264.05 points or 2.56 percent to 10,569.29.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.87 percent, Germany’s DAX advanced 1.2 percent, and France’s CAC 40 ended stronger by 1.47 percent.

Crude oil prices settled flat on Friday as fears of a global recession raised concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February settled at $73.77 a barrel, up just 10 cents from the previous close.

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