Asian Markets Mostly Sharply Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly sharply higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders picked up stocks at a bargain after the recent sell-off amid the continued escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Technology stocks bounced back with strong gains to mirror their peers on tech-heavy Nasdaq. Asian markets ended mostly sharply lower on Thursday.

Russia finally invaded Ukraine, firing missiles at several Ukrainian cities and landing troops on Ukraine’s south coast. Several countries, including the U.S. and U.K., Australian and Japan have already imposed severe sanctions on Russia following the invasion, potentially targeting the country’s all-important energy sector.

U.S. President Joe Biden said the new sanctions will limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen, stop Russia’s ability to finance and grow their military and impair their ability to compete in high-tech 21st century economy.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders picked up stocks at a bargain after the recent sell-off amid the continued escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 8.20 points or 0.12 percent to 6,998.80, after touching a high of 7,045.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 20.50 points or 0.28 percent to 7,273.60. Australian markets ended sharply lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is edging down 0.3 percent and BHP Group is losing almost 1 percent, while Mineral Resources is adding more than 3 percent and Fortescue Metals is gaining 1.5 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mixed. Beach energy and Woodside Petroleum are losing almost 2 percent each, while Santos is down almost 1 percent. Origin Energy is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Appen is soaring more than 9 percent, Xero is gaining more than 2 percent, WiseTech Global is surging almost 6 percent, Zip is adding more than 5 percent and Afterpay owner Block is skyrocketing 34 percent after its results topped expectations on strong Bitcoin trading offsetting slower growth from its digital commerce business.

Among the big four banks, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are losing almost 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are lower. Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are losing more than 4 percent each, while Resolute Mining is sliding more than 9 percent, Gold Road Resources is slipping almost 5 percent and Newcrest Mining is down almost 2 percent.

In other news, shares Lynas Rare Earths are adding more than 4 percent after it posted a record first-half profit, helped by a surge in demand for the minerals used in electric vehicles amid a global push for reducing carbon emissions. The company did not declare an interim dividend.

Shares of Adbri jumped almost 11 percent after the construction materials group reported that full-year net profit jumped 25 percent and revenue rose 8 percent. The company also declared a final dividend

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.717 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is trading sharply higher on Friday, snapping a five-session losing streak, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just below the 26,400 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders picked up stocks at a bargain after the recent sell-off amid the continued escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Japan is also looking to further ease border controls as the sixth wave of coronavirus wanes.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,353.58, up 382.76 points or 1.47 percent, after touching a high of 26,419.89 earlier. Japanese shares closed sharply lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.3 percent and Toyota is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is surging more than 6 percent, Screen Holdings is gaining more than 5 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is losing more than 1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are declining almost 2 percent each.

Among major exporters, Panasonic is gaining almost 2 percent, Sony is adding almost 3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric up more than 1 percent and Canon is rising almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is gaining almost 6 percent and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is adding more than 5 percent, while M3 and Z Holdings are up more than 4 percent each. Rakuten Group, Keyence and Ebara are rising almost 4 percent each, while Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Olympus and Trend Micro are adding more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Fukuoka Financial Group is losing almost 8 percent, while Concordia Financial and Chiba Bank are sliding almost 7 percent each. Inpex and Resona Holdings and down more than 5 percent each, while Shizuoka Bank, Tokio Marine Holdings and Sompo Holdings are slipping more than 4 percent each. T&D Holdings is declining almost 4 percent, while Dai-ichi Life Holdings and Tokyo Gas are slumping more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 115 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia are losing 1.1 to 1.6 percent each, while Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by 0.1 and 0.6 percent, respectively. Hong Kong is bucking the trend and is down 0.5 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks staged a stunning turnaround over the course of the trading session on Thursday after moving sharply lower at the start of trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq showed a particularly strong rebound after hitting its lowest intraday level in almost a year.

The Nasdaq spiked 436.10 points or 3.3 percent to 13,473.59 after tumbling by as much as 3.4 percent in early trading. The Dow also rose 92.07 points or 0.3 percent to 33,223.83 after plunging by nearly 860 points, while the S&P 500 jumped 63.20 points or 1.5 percent at 4,288.70.

Meanwhile, the major European markets showed substantial moves to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has plummeted by 4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index dove by 3.9 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices settled moderately higher on Thursday, with traders weighing the possible impact on global supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up by $0.71 or about 0.8% at $92.81 a barrel, climbing down from a high of $100.54 a barrel.

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