Asian stock markets are a sea of red on Friday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, dragged primarily by steep losses in financial stock, which mirrored their peers on Wall Street amid persistent concerns about the outlook for interest rates. Traders are also looking ahead to the release of the more closely watched monthly US jobs report later in the day. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.
The jobs report could have a significant effect on the pace of interest rate hikes as determined by the US Fed.
“Fed Chair Powell seems to have signaled they will accelerate the tightening pace to a half-point rate rise if we get both a hot NFP and inflation reports,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
The Australian stock market is sharply lower on Friday, giving up the slight gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,200 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, dragged by losses in financial, technology and energy stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 144.30 points or 1.97 percent to 7,166.80, after hitting a low of 7,163.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 144.40 points or 1.92 percent to 7,370.00. Australian markets ended slightly higher on Thursday.
Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are losing almost 2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals down more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is sliding almost 4 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.
Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing more than 1 percent, Santos is down almost 2 percent and Woodside Energy is declining more than 2 percent, while Origin Energy is gaining more than 2 percent.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is declining almost 5 percent, WiseTech Global is down more than 1 percent and Zip is losing almost 2 percent, while Appen is gaining more than 3 percent and Xero is edging up 0.1 percent.
Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank Westpac and National Australia Bank are all losing almost 3 percent each.
Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources is gaining almost 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is up almost 2 percent, while Gold Road Resources and Evolution Mining are adding more than 3 percent each. Resolute Mining is flat.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.657 on Friday.
The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Friday, snapping the five-session winning streak, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 falling well below the 27,400 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with losses across most sectors, led by financial and technology stocks. Traders also await Bank of Japan’s policy decision later in the d ay.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,271.58, down 351.57 points or 1.23 percent, after hitting a low of 28,246.37 earlier. Japanese stocks closed notably higher on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are losing almost 1 percent each.
In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than1 percent, Screen Holdings is down almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.2 percent.
In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is losing almost 2 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is declining 2.5 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is slipping more than 3 percent.
Among major exporters, Canon is gaining more than 1 percent, while Sony is declining almost 3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is down more than 1 percent and Panasonic is losing more than 2 percent.
Among the other major losers, Seven & I Holdings is declining almost 5 percent, Chiba Bank is losing more than 4 percent and Pacific Metals is slipping more than 3 percent, while Resona Holdings, Concordia Financial Group, Shizuoka Financial Group, NEXON, Japan Steel Works, Olympus, T&D Holdings and Odakyu Electric Railway are all down almost 3 percent each.
Conversely, Dai Nippon Printing is surging almost 6 percent and Toppan is gaining more than 4 percent.
In economic news, the Bank of Japan will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Friday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The BoJ is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at -0.10 percent.
The average of household spending in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 2.7 percent on month in January, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday – coming in at 301,646 yen. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.4 percent following the 2.1 percent contraction in December. On a yearly basis, household spending slipped 0.3 percent – missing forecasts for a drop of 0.1 percent following the 1.3 percent decline in the previous month. The average of monthly income per household stood at 495,706 yen, down 1.7 percent on previous year.
Producer prices in Japan were down 0.4 percent on month in February, the Bank of Japan said on Friday. That was beneath expectations for a decline of 0.3 percent following the flat reading in January. On a yearly basis, producer prices climbed 8.2 percent – shy of forecasts for 8.4 percent and down from 9.5 percent in the previous month.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-136 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is down 2.3 percent, while New Zealand, China, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.5 and 1.3 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading session on Thursday after failing to sustain an early move to upside. The major averages renewed the sell-off seen on Tuesday, with the Dow tumbling to its lowest closing level in four months.
The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but still posted steep losses. The Dow slumped 543.54 points or 1.7 percent to 32,254.86, the Nasdaq plummeted 237.65 points or 2.1 percent to 11,338.35 and the S&P 500 plunged 73.69 points or 1.9 percent at 3,918.32.
The major European markets also moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. While the German DAX Index closed nearly unchanged, the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.6 percent.
Crude oil prices retreated on Thursday, extending losses to a third straight day amid concerns that aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve could slow global economic growth and result in a drop in energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended lower by $0.94 or 1.2 percent at $75.72 a barrel.
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