Asian Markets Trading Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, despite the slightly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders reacted positively to news of the leaders of the U.S. and China in a virtual summit, even as some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets continue on lingering inflation concerns. Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Monday.

Traders are also awaiting speeches by a number of Federal Reserve officials this week for additional clues on interest rates and monetary policy going forward.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Tuesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,400 level, following the negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as miners, technology and financial stocks drag the market. The domestic coronavirus situation, particularly in Victoria, also continues to dent investor sentiment.

Victoria reported 797 new locally acquired cases and eight deaths on Monday, with the active cases totalling 14,131 across Victoria. NSW has reported only 212 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and two deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 44.00 points or 0.59 percent to 7,426.10, after hitting a low of 7,415.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 44.10 points or 0.57 percent to 7,754.10. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is losing more than 2 percent, OZ Minerals is down almost 1 percent and Rio Tinto is declining more than 1 percent. Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are flat.

Oil stocks are mixed. Origin Energy and Woodside Petroleum are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Oil Search and Beach energy are losing almost 1 percent each. Santos is edging down 0.4 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are losing almost 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking is edging down 0.4 percent. Westpac is flat.

Among tech stocks, Appen is losing almost 2 percent, Xero is declining more than 2 percent and WiseTech Global down more than 1 percent, while Afterpay is gaining almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Resolute Mining is losing almost 2 percent, Evolution Mining edging down 0.5 percent, Northern Star Resources is declining more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is slipping almost 1 percent, while Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.3 percent.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will on Tuesday release the minutes from its November 2 monetary policy meeting. At the meeting, the RBA kept its benchmark cash rate unchanged at a record low of 0.10 percent but decided to relinquish the yield curve control program reflecting the improvement in the economy and the faster-than-expected progress towards the inflation goal. The board also voted to continue with the purchase of government securities at the rate of A$4 billion a week until at least mid-February 2022.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.737 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index above the 29,800 level, despite the negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders are upbeat about the stimulus package and spending plan to revive the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,841.26, up 64.46 points or 0.22 percent, after touching a high of 29,960.93 and a low of 29,681.25 earlier. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is flat. Among automakers, Honda is flat and Toyota is gaining almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is edging up 0.5 percent, Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 1 percent and Screen Holdings is adding almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.4 percent and Mizuho Financial is losing almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed. Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.5 percent and Panasonic is losing almost 2 percent, while Canon and Sony are gaining almost 1 percent each.

Among the other major losers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is losing 4.5 percent, while Nippon Yusen K.K., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Japan Steel Works are declining more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Subaru is surging more than 6 percent, GS Yuasa is adding almost 6 percent and JTEKT is up almost 4 percent, while Isuzu Motors, Dai-ichi Life Holdings and T&D Holdings are gaining more than 3 percent each. Marui Group, Murata Manufacturing and JGC Holdings are rising almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 114 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.9 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.3 percent. Singapore is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Monday after failing to sustain an early move to the upside. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the day roughly flat.

The major averages finished the day slightly lower, edging down by less than a tenth of a percent each. The Dow slipped 12.86 points to 36,087.45, the Nasdaq dipped 7.11 points to 15,853.85 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.05 points to 4,682.80.

Meanwhile, the major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index rose 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index climbed 0.5 percent.

Crude oil futures settled marginally higher Monday after plunging earlier in the session on expectations of higher supplies and weakening demand. The dollar’s climb to a 16-month high also weighed on oil prices early on in the session. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended higher by $0.09 or 0.1 percent at $80.88 a barrel.

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