Asian Markets Mostly Gain On Fed Comments

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Thursday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from the global markets, as traders digested the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting and the following comments. Markets were lifted by a rebound in technology stocks after the recent plunge. Asian Markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday.

The Fed minutes indicated that the central bank intends to move “expeditiously” to a more neutral monetary policy stance. The minutes showed most participants agreed additional 50 basis point increases would likely be appropriate at the “next couple of meetings.”

The minutes revealed the Fed plans to use both interest rate increases and reductions in the size of its balance sheet to achieve a neutral posture. The shift toward a more neutral monetary policy stance comes as the Fed seeks to return inflation to its 2 percent goal while sustaining strong labor market conditions.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Thursday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,100 level, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from the global markets, with weakness in materials, energy and gold miner stocks partially offset by the rebound in technology stocks, particularly Appen after it received a buyout offer.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 34.00 points or 0.48 percent to 7,121.20, after touching a high of 7,181.40 and a low of 7,117.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 33.90 points or 0.46 percent to 7,357.80. Australian stocks ended modestly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group losing more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto is declining almost 2 percent, OZ Minerals is edging down 0.5 percent, Fortescue Metals is slipping more than 3 percent and Mineral Resources is down almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are lower. Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside Energy are losing almost 1 percent each, while Beach energy is flat.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is gaining almost 1 percent and Zip is advancing more than 3 percent, Xero is edging up 0.5 percent and WiseTech Global is adding more than 3 percent. Appen is soaring almost 30 percent after it received a non-binding buyout offer from Canadian BPO firm Telus International, valuing it at $1.2 billion

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Westpac is adding more than 1 percent. Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is losing almost 3 percent, Newcrest Mining is down more than 2 percent and Resolute Mining is declining more than 4 percent, while Evolution Mining and Gold Road Resources are slipping almost 1 percent each.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.708 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher on Thursday, recouping some of the losses in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying just below the 26,700 mark, following the broadly positive cues overnight from the global markets, as traders digested the minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting and comments.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,685.71, up 7.91 points or 0.03 percent, after touching a high of 26,898.75 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is advancing more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is edging down 0.5 percent, Advantest is losing 1.5 percent and Tokyo Electron is declining almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.5 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding more than 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony and Canon are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Panasonic is adding almost 2 percent. Mitsubishi Electric is slipping more than 4 percent.

Among the other major losers, DeNA is plunging almost 9 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 4 percent, Taiyo Yuden is down more than 3 percent and Pacific Metals is declining almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Unitika is surging more than 7 percent, while Keio and Mitsui Chemicals are gaining more than 4 percent each. Mitsui Fudosan, J. Front Retailing and Rakuten are up almost 4 percent each, while Oki Electric, Subaru and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are advancing more than 3 percent each. Keisei Electric Railway, Toto, T&D Holdings, Sumitomo Osaka Cement and East Japan Railway are adding almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 127 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore is up 1.0 percent, while New Zealand, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each. Hong Kong is bucking the trend and is down 0.8 percent. China is relatively flat. Indonesia is closed Ascension Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday before ending the day mostly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rebounded after ending Tuesday’s trading at its lowest closing level since November 2020.

The major averages all closed in positive territory, with the Nasdaq leading the advance. While the Nasdaq surged 170.29 points or 1.5 percent to 11,434.74, the S&P 500 jumped 37.25 points or 1 percent to 3,978.73 and the Dow climbed 191.66 points or 0.6 percent to 32,120.28.

The major European markets also all moved to the upside over the course of the session. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday, lifted by tight supplies and expectations of higher demand during the summer driving season. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July gained $0.56 or 0.5 percent at $110.33 a barrel.

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