Asian Markets Track Global Markets Higher

Mirroring the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, Asian stock markets are mostly higher in thin trades on Friday amid China’s Golden week holiday. Traders are indulging in bargain hunting as they picked up stocks at reduced levels following recent weakness even as concerns remain about interest rates and the outlook for global economic growth. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

Snapping the four-session losing streak, the Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is staying above the 7,000 mark, with gains in miners and technology stocks, partially offset by losses in energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 29.80 points or 0.42 percent to 7,054.60, after touching a high of 7,058.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 32.20 points or 0.45 percent to 7,254.70. Australian markets ended slightly lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto up almost 1 percent, Mineral Resources is adding more than 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Santos and Origin Energy are losing almost 1 percent, while Woodside Energy is edging down 0.1 percent. Beach energy is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 1 percent. WiseTech Global and Xero are edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each, while Appen is gaining more than 4 percent and Zip is adding more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.3 percent, while ANZ Banking is edging up 0.1 percent. National Australia Bank and Westpac are flat.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources, Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are gaining more than 2 percent each, while Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.4 percent and Evolution Mining is adding more than 1 percent.

In other news, shares in Core Lithium are skyrocketing almost 21 percent after the miner reported its upbeat maiden full-year results.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.645 on Friday.

Adding to the losses in the previous session, the Japanese stock market is slightly lower on Friday, despite the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark Nikkei 225 is staying above the 31,800 level, as traders reacted to some mixed domestic data, with weakness in exporters and financial stocks, partially offset by gains in technology stocks.

Traders are also weighing the possibility of the Japanese central bank intervening in the currency market as the yen slides toward the 150 a dollar mark.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 31,836.24, down 36.28 points or 0.11 percent, after touching a high of 32,027.46 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 2 percent, while Toyota is edging up 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 2 percent, Screen Holdings is edging up 0.1 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding 1.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are losing 1.5 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down more than 1 percent.

Among major exporters, Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are down almost 1 percent each, while Panasonic is losing almost 2 percent. Sony is edging up 0.3 percent.

Among other major losers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are losing almost 5 percent each, while Chubu Electric Power is down more than 4 percent. Kansai Electric Power is declining almost 4 percent, while Nippon Yusen K.K. and Mazda Motor are slipping more than 3 percent each.
Nippon Steel, Kobe Steel, Sompo Holdings and ENEOS Holdings are sliding almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, CyberAgent and Z Holdings are gaining almost 4 percent each, while Resonac Holdings is adding more than 3 percent.

In economic news, the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.7 percent in August, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications or MIAC, said on Friday. That was unchanged from the July reading, although it missed expectations for 2.6 percent. The jobs-to-applicant ratio was 1.29, unchanged and in line with forecasts. The participation rate also was unchanged, at 63.1 percent.

The MIAC also said overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region of Japan were up 2.8 percent on year in September. That was in line with forecasts and down from 2.9 percent in August. Core CPI, which excludes the volatiles costs of food, was up an annual 2.5 percent – shy of expectations for 2.6 percent and down from 2.8 percent in the previous month.

Further, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry or METI, said the value of retail sales in Japan jumped 7.0 percent on year in August, coming in at 13.391 trillion yen. That exceeded expectations for a gain of 6.0 percent following the upwardly revised 7.0 percent gain in July (originally 6.8 percent). On a monthly basis, retail sales rose 0.1 percent, easing from 2.2 percent in the previous month.

The METI also said Industrial output in Japan came in flat in August, beating expectations for a decline of 0.8 percent following the 1.8 percent drop in July. On a yearly basis, industrial production fell 3.8 percent after slipping 2.3 percent in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 149 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 2.1 percent, while New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia are higher by between 0.5 and 0.6 percent each. Malaysia is down 0.7 percent. South Korea remains closed for the Chuseok Festival. Taiwan and China are closed for the Mid-Autum Festival.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday after ending Wednesday’s volatile session narrowly mixed. The major averages all moved to the upside on the day, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the advance.

While the Nasdaq climbed 108.42 points or 0.8 percent to 13,201.28, the S&P 500 increased 25.19 points or 0.6 percent to 4,299.70 and the Dow rose 116.07 points or 0.4 percent to 33,666.34.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index crept up 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index advanced 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures failed to hold gains and fell sharply on Thursday, due largely on profit taking. Oil prices rose to one-year high earlier in the day after recent data showing a drop in crude inventories in the U.S. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November ended down $1.97 or 2.1 percent at $91.71 a barrel.

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