Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

With the mood remaining a bit cautious amid concerns about interest rates amid stronger than expected US jobs data in November, Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday. Markets in China and Hong Kong are falling on signs that China’s deflation situation is deepening. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

China’s consumer prices fell the fastest in three years in November and producer price inflation fell further into negative territory, underscoring the challenges facing the world’s second-largest economy.

With the US Fed widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged following its monetary policy later in the week, traders are likely to focus more closely on the central bank’s accompanying statement and projections.

The Australian stock market is currently trading slightly lower on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,200.00 level, despite the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, with a mixed performance across most sectors, but slightly pulled down by weakness in gold miners amid tumbling gold prices

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 4.70 points or 0.07 percent to 7,190.20, after touching a high of 7,226.80 and a low of 7,191.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 4.10 points or 0.06 percent to 7,401.50. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto and Mineral Resources are edging up 0.2 to 0.4 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is gaining almost 1 percent. BHP Group is edging down 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy is advancing almost 3 percent, while Santos and Woodside Energy are adding more than 1 percent each. Origin Energy is losing almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is edging up 0.4 percent and Appen is adding more than 1 percent, while Afterpay owner Block and Zip are gaining almost 2 percent each. Xero is flat.

Gold miners are mixed. Gold Road Resources is losing almost 3 percent, Newmont is declining almost 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is down 1.5 percent, while Evolution Mining is gaining almost 1 percent and Resolute Mining is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging up 0.4 to 0.5 percent each.

In other news, shares in Pact Group are surging almost 23 percent after the packaging company’s largest shareholder outside Raphael Geminder sweetened its offer to sell shares held by it.

Shares in Bubs Australia are gaining almost 6 percent after the infant formula company forecast US revenue to double in the 2024 financial year.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.656 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is trading sharply higher on Monday, recouping the losses in the previous two sessions. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is moving above the 32,800 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, with strong gains across most sectors led by index heavyweights and technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 32,817.61, up 509.75 points or 1.58 percent, after touching a high of 32,933.08 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 4 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 2 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining 2.5 percent, Advantest is adding more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is advancing more than 3 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining 1.5 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are adding almost 2 percent each.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Canon is gaining more than 2 percent and Panasonic are adding almost 1 percent, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are advancing almost 2 percent each.

Among other major gainers, Tokyo Electric Power is surging almost 9 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo and Mitsui & Co. are gaining more than 4 percent each. Keisei Electric Railway, Sumitomo Electric Industries and Sumitomo Pharma are adding almost 4 percent each, while Nissui, Toppan Holdings and Chubu Electric Power are up more than 3 percent each. Mazda Motor, Itochu and ENEOS are advancing almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, NEXON is losing almost 5 percent.

In economic news, the M2 money stock in Japan was up 2.3 percent on year in November, the Bank of Japan said on Monday – coming in at 1,239.9 trillion yen. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 2.5 percent and down from 2.4 percent in October. The M3 money stock rose an annual 1.7 percent to 1,594.6 trillion yen, easing from 1.8 percent in the previous month. The L money stock was unchanged at 2.1 percent, standing at 2,121.5 trillion yen.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 145 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is down 1.8 percent, while China, New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia are lower by between 0.3 and 0.9 percent each. South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated early in the trading day on Friday but moved mostly higher over the course of the session. The major averages added to the gains posted during Thursday’s session, reaching their highest closing levels in well over a year.

The major averages reached new highs late in the session but gave back some ground going into the close. The Dow rose 130.49 points or 0.4 percent to 36,247.87, the Nasdaq advanced 63.98 points or 0.5 percent to 14,403.97 and the S&P 500 climbed 18.78 points or 0.4 percent to 4,604.37.

The major European markets all also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index surged by 1.3 percent, the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices spiked sharply on Friday after Saudi Arabia and Russia urged the members of OPEC to join an output cut agreement. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended higher by $1.89 or 2.7 percent at $71.23 a barrel, snapping a six-day losing streak.

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