Asian Markets Mostly Lower Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Tuesday, following the weak cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders remain cautious after comments from US Fed officials that the central bank will have to keep raising rates to somewhere above 5 percent. Traders continued to refrain from creating fresh long positions. The US dollar also weakened against major Asian currencies. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Monday.

Traders now look ahead to US Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at a central bank conference in Stockholm later in the day and the U.S. December inflation report due on Thursday for additional clues on interest the rate outlook.

The Australian stock market modestly lower on Tuesday, snapping a four-session winning streak, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,100 level, following the weak cues from Wall Street overnight, dragged by losses in gold miners and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 19.40 points or 0.27 percent to 7,131.90, after hitting a low of 7,126.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 18.60 points or 0.25 percent to 7,337.20. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are edging down 0.4 to 0.6 percent each, while Mineral Resources is gaining almost 1 percent. OZ Minerals is edging up 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly weak. Woodside Energy and Origin Energy are edging down 0.3 to 0.5 percent each, while Santos is losing almost 1 percent. Beach energy is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is edging down 0.2 percent, Zip is losing more than 3 percent, Appen is declining almost 4 percent and Afterpay owner Block is down almost 2 percent. Xero is edging up 0.5 percent

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are losing more than 2 percent each, while Gold Road Resources and Evolution Mining are down 1.5 percent each. Resolute Mining is plunging more than 6 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are all edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.690 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher in choppy trading on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving just a tad below the 26,200 level, despite the weak cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains in heavyweight stocks and technology stocks, which mirrored their peers on Nasdaq.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,199.25, up 225.40 points or 0.87 percent, after touching a high of 26,316.66 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Friday ahead of the Coming of Age holiday on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 4 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is adding almost 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 2 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are adding more than 2 percent each.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing more than 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is edging down 0.3 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.3 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower. Canon and Panasonic are edging down 0.4 to 0.5 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is losing almost 1 percent. Sony is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Toto is soaring almost 8 percent. Daikin Industries is surging more than 5 percent, Eisai Co. is gaining almost 5 percent, SMC Corp. is adding more than 4 percent and
Sumitomo Metal Mining is rising more than 3 percent, while Shin-Etsu Chemical, Yaskawa Electric and Taiyo Yuden are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Concordia Financial is losing almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 131 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are lower by between 0.3 and 0.8 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is up 0.1 percent. South Korea and Taiwan are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks failed to hold gains and ended on a mixed note on Monday as the mood turned cautious past mid-afternoon after some Fed officials said the central bank will have to keep raising rates. Stocks pared gains after comments from a couple of Fed officials that the central bank might raise rates to somewhere above 5 percent.

Among the major averages, the Dow ended down 112.96 points or 0.34 percent at 33,517.65 and the S&P 500 settled lower by 2.99 points or 0.08 percent at 3,892.09, while the Nasdaq settled with a gain of 66.36 points or 0.63 percent at 10,635.65.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.33 percent, Germany’s DAX surged 1.25 percent, and France’s CAC ended higher by 0.68 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed higher Monday, gaining for a third straight session amid hopes of increased demand – while a weak dollar also helped to support oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February rose $0.86 or 1.2 percent at $74.63 a barrel.

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