Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Monday, following the firmly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders continue to express concerns that the surge coronavirus cases in the region and other countries, particularly in the U.S., could dent the pace of global economic recovery from the pandemic. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.
The Australian stock market is slightly higher on Monday, extending the modest gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 above the 7,400 level, ignoring the firmly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, with energy stocks gaining as crude oil prices stormed higher. Sentiment was also lifted following the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions in most regional areas.
However, the precarious domestic coronavirus situation, primarily in New South Wales and Victoria, is also weighing in investor sentiment. NSW reported 1,257 new locally acquired cases and seven deaths on Sunday. Victoria also recorded 473 new locally acquired cases, with the total active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria standing at 3,507.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 18.20 points or 0.25 percent to 7,424.80, after hitting a low of 7,389.40 and a high of 7,436.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 20.10 points or 0.26 percent to 7,726.30. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources is edging up 0.4 percent, Fortescue Metals is adding more than 2 percent and OZ Minerals is surging more than 4 percent.
Oil stocks are mostly higher, with Oil Search gaining more than 1 percent, Origin Energy up almost 1 percent, Santos adding almost 3 percent and Woodside Petroleum higher by almost 2 percent, while Beach energy and Origin Energy are up almost 1 percent each.
Among tech stocks, Appen is losing more than 3 percent and Afterpay is down almost 2 percent, while Xero is edging down 0.5 percent and WiseTech Global is edging down 0.3 percent.
Gold miners are mixed. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are edging up 0.5 percent each. Gold Road Resources is losing more than 2 percent and Resolute Mining is declining more than 4 percent.
Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is flat and ANZ Banking is edging up 0.3 percent, while Westpac is edging down 0.2 percent and National Australia Bank is losing almost 1 percent.
In other news, shares in Sydney Airport are up more than 5 percent after it agreed to grant due diligence to a superannuation fund consortium, after the suitor sweetened its takeover offer to $8.75 from $8.25 per stapled security, a $23.6 billion offer.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.736 on Monday.
The Japanese stock market is slightly lower on Monday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 30,300 level, following the firmly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, even as traders pin hopes on a new government to implement new economic measures to alleviate the prolonged impact of the pandemic.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 30,292.84, down 89.00 points or 0.29 percent, after touching a high of 30,434.46 and a low of 30,229.01 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Friday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing are losing more than 1 percent each. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 2 percent and Toyota is declining more than 2 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Screen Holdings is flat. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are edging up 0.3 percent each.
The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic edging down 0.2 percent and Sony losing almost 1 percent, while Canon is edging up 0.2 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is rising almost 1 percent.
Among the other major losers, Nitto Denko is losing almost 4 percent, Isuzu Motors is down more than 3 percent and Daiichi Sankyo is lower by almost 3 percent, while Nissan Chemical and Seiko Epson are declining more than 2 percent each.
Conversely, Shinsei Bank is gaining more than 13 percent after SBI launched a tender offer to buy its shares, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and DeNA are adding almost 4 percent each. Isetan Mitsukoshi, Toho Zinc and Mitsubishi Chemical are up more than 3 percent each, while CyberAgent, Aozora Bank, Asahi Kasei, Tokyo Electric Power, Mitsui Mining & Smelting, Hitachi Zosen and Citizen Watch are all higher by more than 2 percent each.
In economic news, producer prices in Japan were flat on month in August, the Bank of Japan said on Monday, just shy of expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent and down from 1.1 percent in July. On a yearly basis, producer prices gained 5.5 percent – beneath forecasts for a gain of 5.6 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month. Export prices were down 0.2 percent on month and up 10.9 percent on year, the bank said, while import prices rose 1.8 percent on month and surged 29.2 percent on year.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 109 yen-range on Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is losing 1.8 percent, while South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each. China is bucking the trend and is up 0.2 percent. New Zealand is relatively flat.
On Wall Street, stocks once again failed to sustain an early upward move and came under pressure over the course of the trading day on Friday. With the downturn on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 closed lower for the fifth consecutive session.
The major averages accelerated to the downside going into the close, ending the day firmly negative. The Dow fell 271.66 points or 0.8 percent to 34,607.72, its lowest closing level in well over a month. The Nasdaq slid 132.76 points or 0.9 percent to 15,115.49 and the S&P 500 dropped 34.70 points or 0.8 percent to 4,458.58.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent.
Crude oil futures settled sharply higher Friday on signs of a drop in crude supply in the U.S. due to the impact of Hurricane Ida. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended up $1.58 or 2.3 percent at $69.72 a barrel. WTI crude futures gained 0.6 percent for the week.
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