Asian Markets In The Green

Asian stock markets are trading in the green on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders indulged in bargain hunting after last week’s sell-off, even amid the uncertainty about the pace of global economic recovery due to surging coronvirus cases in the region and geopolitical concerns following the developments in Afghanistan and China’s regulatory curbs. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday.

The Australian stock market is slightly higher on Monday, snapping the losing streak of five sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,500 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, even as traders remain concerned as the country struggles to contain the domestic coronavirus situation, primarily in New South Wales and now in Victoria, with states and territories going in for tighter restrictions.

NSW reported 818 new cases on Sunday, with three deaths. Victoria also recorded 71 new locally acquired cases, with the total active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria standing at 494.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 28.20 points or 0.38 percent to 7,489.10, after touching a high of 7,496.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 32.80 points or 0.43 percent to 7,757.90. Australian stocks closed marginally lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.4 percent and OZ Minerals is gaining almost 3 percent, while Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are losing almost 2 percent each. Rio Tinto is flat.

Oil stocks are higher, with Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum gaining almost 1 percent each, while Beach energy is edging up 0.5 percent. Santos and Origin Energy are flat.

Among tech stocks, Appen is surging more than 5 percent and WiseTech Global is up more than 2 percent, while Xero and Afterpay are adding almost 3 percent each.

Gold miners are mixed. Evolution Mining is losing more than 2 percent, while Newcrest Mining is adding almost 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is gaining almost 2 percent. Northern Star Resources and Resolute Mining are flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent, while National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are flat.

In other news, Australian energy company Spark Infrastructure Group agreed to a takeover offer from consortium led by private equity firm KKR & Co. valuing the company at about A$5.2 billion. He stock is up more than 2 percent.

Shares in Ampol are losing almost 6 percent after the Australian fuel retailer and distributor has made a $2 billion takeover offer for its New Zealand counterpart Z Energy Ltd. in a move to expand its reach as the company returns to profitability.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in August, albeit at a much slower rate, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed on Monday with a 14-month low manufacturing PMI score of 51.7. That’s down from 56.9 in July, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services PMI fell from 44.2 in July to 43.3 in August, while the composite slipped from 45.2 in July to 43.5 this month.

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

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Monday, recouping the losses of the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 gaining almost 500 points to be below the 27,500 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, even as traders continued to be concerned about the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus variants and the resultant state of emergencies.

With just a day to go for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, COVID-19 daily new cases continue at record levels in Japan, with state of emergency through much of the nation. Japan reported about 22,300 new cases on Sunday after topping the 25,000 mark for the past four days.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,479.85 up 466.60 points or 1.73 percent, after touching a high of 27,499.11 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 3 percent and Toyota is adding more than 3 percent.

The major exporters are higher, with Panasonic gaining more than 2 percent, Sony adding almost 3 percent, Canon up more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric rising almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are gaining almost 1 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Denso is gaining more than 7 percent, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Shiseido are adding more than 4 percent each. Nippon Yusen K.K., Omron, Asahi Group Holdings, Recruit Holdings, Konami Holdings, Alps Alpine and Kubota are all up more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, there are no major losers.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in August, albeit at a slower rate, the latest survey from Jibun Bank showed on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 52.4. That’s down from 53.0 in July, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services PMI fell from 46.4 in July to 43.5 in August, while the composite slipped from 48.8 in July to 45.9 this month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 109 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is soaring 2.6 percent, Hong Kong is surging 2.1 percent, South Korea is gaining 1.4 percent, China is adding 1.2 percent and New Zealand is rising 1 percent, while Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a notable move to the upside during trading on Friday, following the lackluster performance seen during trading on Thursday. The major averages all ended the day firmly in positive territory after ending the previous session on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts, jumping 172.88 points or 1.2 percent to 14,714.66. The Dow also climbed 225.96 points or 0.7 percent to 35,120.08 and the S&P 500 advanced 35.87 points or 0.8 percent to 4,441.67.

The major European markets also moved to the upside after seeing weakness earlier in the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both ended the day up by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures drifted lower Friday on worries about outlook for energy demand due to spikes in coronavirus cases and possible fresh restrictions in several countries. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended down $1.37 or 2.2 percent at $62.32 a barrel.

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