Asian Markets In Negative Territory

Asian stock markets are in negative territory on Monday following the negative cues from Wall Street Friday and as China’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak exceeded the global total from the SARS epidemic in 2003.

China’s National Health Commission said that as of Sunday night, the death toll in the mainland China from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 908, while a total of 40,171 infections were confirmed.

The Australian market is extending losses from the previous session.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 35.00 points or 0.50 percent to 6,987.60, off a low of 6,982.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 39.90 points or 0.56 percent to 7,081.50. Australian shares closed lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is losing 3 percent, BHP is declining almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is down almost 1 percent amid weak iron ore prices.

The big four banks are also lower. ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are down in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent.

Oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices lost more than 1 percent on Friday. Oil Search is losing 3 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are lower by more than 1 percent each.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are higher as safe-haven gold prices edged higher Friday. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is advancing more than 1 percent.

Boral said employees at its North American windows business overstated pre-tax earnings figures by $24.4 million between March 2018 and October 2019. The company also said its second-half results would be impacted by bushfire-related disruptions and chief executive Mike Kane will retire in August. Shares of the construction materials manufacturer are losing 11 percent.

JB Hi-Fi reported a more than 6 percent increase in profit for the first half of the year and raised its interim payout to shareholders. The electronics retailer’s shares are gaining almost 7 percent.

Aurizon Holdings reported a 19 percent increase in net profit for the first half of the year, said it is on track to meet its full-year outlook and increased its share buyback by A$100 million to A$400 million. The rail freight operator’s shares are rising more than 2 percent.

GPT Group recorded a 40 percent fall in net profit for the full year on lower revenues, while funds from operations increased almost 7 percent and the company raised its full-year payout to shareholders. The property developer’s shares are advancing almost 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar was quoted at $0.6664, compared to $0.6717 on Friday.

The Japanese market is also losing.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 158.91 points or 0.67 percent to 23,669.07, after touching a low of 23,621.72 earlier. Japanese stocks closed lower on Friday, snapping a three-session winning streak.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is adding 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Advantest is lower by more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is down 0.3 percent.

The major exporters are also lower on a stronger yen. Panasonic, Mitsubishi Electric, Canon and Sony are all losing more than 1 percent each.

Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is gaining more than 2 percent, while Toyota Motor is declining more than 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is lower by more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.6 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Dena Co., Marui Group and Nissan Chemical are rising more than 2 percent each.

Conversely, Taiyo Yuden, Nikon Corp. and Comsys Holdings are losing more than 5 percent each, while Bandai Namco and Amada Holdings are lower by almost 5 percent each.

In economic news, the Ministry of Finance said that Japan posted a current account surplus of 524.0 billion yen in December, up 12.8 percent on year. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of 464.7 billion yen following the 1,436.8 billion yen surplus in November.

The trade balance reflected a surplus of 120.7 billion yen, also topping expectations for 28.0 billion yen following the 2.5 billion yen deficit a month earlier.

The Bank of Japan said that overall bank lending in Japan was up 1.9 percent on year in January, coming in at 545.433 trillion yen. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.8 percent, which would have been unchanged from the December reading.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand and Indonesia are losing almost 1 percent each, while Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are also lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Friday on profit taking. However, selling pressure was somewhat subdued following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of January. The Labor Department said employment jumped by 225,000 jobs in January following a revised increase of 147,000 jobs in December. Economists had expected employment to rise by 160,000 jobs compared to the addition of 145,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Dow tumbled 277.48 points or 0.9 percent to 29,102.29, the Nasdaq slid 51.64 points or 05 percent to 9,520.51 and the S&P 500 fell 18.08 points or 0.5 percent to 3,327.70.

The major European markets also ended weak on Friday. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.51 percent, while Germany’s DAX ended down 0.45 percent and France’s CAC 40 shed 0.14 percent.

Crude oil futures closed lower on Friday as worries about the spread of coronavirus, and its impact on the global economy and energy demand weighed on oil prices. WTI crude for March ended down $0.63, or about 1.2 percent, at $50.32 a barrel.

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