Asian Markets Mostly Higher, Snapping Losing Streak

Asian stock markets snapped the losing streak and are mostly higher on Friday, after three straight sessions of losses, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street on better-than-expected weekly labor market data. Investors are upbeat after Fed officials allayed flation fears and are scooping up bargains following the heavy losses in recent sessions, which were driven by inflation concerns. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

However, the gains in markets in the region are capped amid continuing concerns about the accelerating daily coronavirus infection rates caused by highly contagious variants of the virus.

Australian stock market is notably higher on Friday, snapping three straight sessions of losses, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 breaking back above the 7,000 level to near 14-month highs, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 66.60 points or 0.95 percent to 7,049.30, after touching a high of 7,055.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 65.10 points or 0.90 percent to 7,274.10. Australian markets ended notably lower on Thursday.

The major miners are higher. Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 1 percent, while BHP Group and Rio Tinto are edging up 0.3 percent each.

Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum is gaining more than 1 percent and Beach energy is adding almost 1 percent, while Oil Search and Santos are up almost 2 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay is gaining almost 2 percent and Appen is edging up 0.2 percent, while WiseTech Global is down almost 2 percent and Xero is declining almost 5 percent.

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

Gold miners are mixed. Evolution Mining is flat, while Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are edging up 0.3 percent each. Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.2 percent and Resolute Mining is down 0.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.772 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Friday, staging a strong comeback after suffering losses in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 add almost 600 points to break above the 28,000 mark, following broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Bargain hunting also contributed to market’s rebound following heavy losses in recent sessions.

Meanwhile, continuing concerns about the spike in daily domestic coronavirus infections and possible more restrictions and lockdowns are limiting the market’s upside. The Japanese government plans to declare a COVID-19 state of emergency in three more prefectures.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index resumed trading after the morning break and is now trading at 28,033.46, up 585.45 points or 2.13 percent,, after touching a high of 28,038.61 earlier. Japanese shares closed sharply lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 2 percent, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are adding more than 3 percent each. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are adding more than 1 percent each.

The major exporters are mixed. Canon and Sony are gaining almost 3 percent each, while Panasonic is adding almost 1 percent. Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Isuzu Motors is skyrocketing 23 percent, IHI Corp. is surging more than 13 percent, Citizen Watch is gaining almost 13 percent and Dai Nippon is adding more than 8 percent, while Taiyo Yuden, Nikon, Konami Holdings and Trend Micro are all up more than 6 percent each. Aozora Bank, Rakuten, Nisshinbo Holdings and Chugai Pharma are rising almost 5 percent each. Haseko, Showa Denko and Isetan Mitsukoshi are adding more than 4 percent each.

Conversely, Nippon Sheet Glass in plunging more than 15 percent, Toho Zinc is losing more than 8 percent, Casio Computer is down more than 6 percent and Oji Holdings in declining more than 5 percent. Taiheiyo Cement, Sumitomo realty and Sumitomo Metal are losing more than 3 percent each.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai is up 1.2 percent and Taiwan is higher by 1.3 percent. Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are gaining between 0.8 and 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, Singapore and New Zealand are bucking the trend and are losing 0.1 and 0.2 percent, respectively. Markets in Indonesia and Malaysia are closed for Eid al-Fitr holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday, staging a strong comeback after suffering losses in the previous three sessions. Investors largely shrugged off concerns about inflation and possible monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve. Data showing a bigger than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the U.S. and bargain hunting contributed to market’s rebound.

The major averages all ended with strong gains. The Dow advanced 433.79 points or 1.29 percent to settle at 34,021.45, after hitting a high of 34,181.77. The S&P 500 ended up by 49.46 points or 1.22 percent at 4,112.50, while the tech laden Nasdaq closed higher by 93.31 points or 0.72 percent at 13,124.99, well off the day’s high of 13,247.87.

The major European markets ended mixed on Thursday as investors stayed cautious and refrained from making significant moves amid continued concerns about inflation. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.59%, Germany’s DAX moved up 0.33% and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.14%.

Crude oil prices declined sharply on Thursday, weighed down by rising worries about outlook for energy demand and on news that Colonial Pipeline has resumed operations at its facilities. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down by $2.26 or 3.4 percent at $63.82 a barrel, a two-week low.

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