Asian Markets Mostly Higher On Global Cues

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Thursday, following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, after investors digested the inflation data from the U.S., and the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting. The upside may be limited amid the continuing concerns about the coronavirus infections in the region. Asian markets closed mixed on Wednesday.

US data showed a sharper than expected acceleration in U.S. consumer price inflation in the month of September, but the data was not seen as likely to accelerate the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans.

Also, the minutes of the Fed’s September meeting outlined the central bank’s plans to gradually scale back its asset purchases. Participants generally agreed that a gradual tapering of asset purchases that concludes around the middle of next year would likely be appropriate if the economic recovery remained broadly on track.

However, the minutes showed several participants preferred to proceed with a more rapid moderation of purchases than described in the illustrative examples.

The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Thursday, recouping some of the losses in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 above the 7,300 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, led by gains in gold mining, technology and materials stocks. Traders also looked to snap up stocks at a bargain after the sell-off in the past three days.

Meanwhile, traders look at the domestic coronavirus situation. Victoria reported a record 2,297 new locally acquired cases and eleven deaths on Wednesday, with active cases now totalling 20,508 across the state. NSW has reported 406 new local cases of COVID-19 and six deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 75.30 points or 1.04 percent to 7,347.80, after touching a high of 7,349.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 83.30 points or 1.10 percent to 7,655.20. Australian markets ended slightly lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, Fortescue Metals, Rio Tinto and BHP Group are gaining more than 1 percent each, while OZ Minerals is adding more than 3 percent. Mineral Resources is edging down 0.4 percent.

BHP spin-off South32 is up more than 5 percent after announcing a copper deal by acquiring 45 percent of Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile.

Oil stocks are lower. Beach Energy is losing almost 1 percent, Santos is lower by almost 2 percent and Origin Energy is edging down 0.3 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are down more than 1 percent each..

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is gaining more than 1 percent and Westpac is adding almost 1 percent, while ANZ Banking is edging down 0.3 percent. Commonwealth Bank is flat.

The country’s two biggest banks, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank, have said it will require staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as a mandate.

In the tech space, Xero is gaining more than 4 percent and Afterpay is up more than 3 percent, while WiseTech Global and Appen are is rising almost 6 percent each. Zip is adding almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are mostly higher after gold prices climbed overnight. Newcrest Mining, Resolute Mining and Gold Road Resources are gaining more than 2 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is adding almost 3 percent and Evolution Mining is up more than 3 percent.

Shares in Redbubble are shedding almost 12 percent after the online aggregator for artists reported a dip in gross profit and revenues for the first quarter.

In economic news, the jobless rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent in September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That was up from 4.5 percent in August, although it was shy of expectations for 4.8 percent. The Australian economy lost 138,000 jobs last month, slightly worse than forecasts for the loss of 137,500 jobs following the loss of 146,300 jobs in August. The participation rate tumbled to 64.5 percent, missing forecasts for 64.7 percent and down sharply from 65.2 percent in the previous month.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.738 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Thursday, recouping some of the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just above the 28,400 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, led by gains in technology stocks. Traders are also upbeat after seeing a sharp 98 percent drop in domestic coronavirus cases from a month ago.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,425.90, up 285.62 points or 1.01 percent, after touching a high of 28,502.74 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.4 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Toyota and Honda are edging down 0.2 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are gaining more than 3 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is adding more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are all losing 1.5 percent each.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Panasonic is adding more than 1 percent. Canon is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Nexon is gaining more than 4 percent, while Shiseido and Konami Holdings are adding more than 3 percent each. Fujitsu and Olympus are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Credit Saison is losing almost 5 percent, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is down more than 4 percent and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is lower by almost 4 percent, while T&D Holdings, IHI, Dai-ichi Life and Nippon Yusen K.K. are declining more than 3 percent each. Fujikura, Tosoh, Idemitsu Kosan, Resona Holdings and Concordia Financial are down almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 113 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is gaining 1.3 percent and South Korean is adding 1.1 percent, while New Zealand, China, Singapore and Taiwan are higher between 0.1 and 0.2 percent each. Malaysia is bucking the trend and is down 0.5 percent. Hong Kong market is closed on account of National Day.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday before ending the day mostly higher. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 moved to the upside on the day, although the narrower Dow closed nearly unchanged.

While the Dow edged down 0.53 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 34,377.81, the Nasdaq climbed 105.71 points or 0.7 percent to 14,571.64 and the S&P 500 rose 13.15 points or 0.3 percent to 4,363.80. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 snapped three-session losing streaks.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns that the slowdown in global economic growth could weaken the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November eased $0.20 or 0.3 percent at $80.44 a barrel.

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