(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are exhibiting a mixed trend on Wednesday, with investors mostly treading cautiously following a weak close on Wall Street overnight. After opening notably lower, some of the markets in the region recovered some lost ground amid slightly easing worries about the partial government shutdown in the U.S.
After a weak start, the Australian market is trading higher with investors indulging in some selective buying at some front line counters.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 5,118.9 in early trades, is currently up 4.2 points at 5,153.6. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 3.1 points at 5,151.2, well off the day's low of 5,118.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank and National Australia Bank are down marginally, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac (WBK) are trading higher by 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are trading modestly higher.
Top miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are trading flat.
Bluescope Steel is up 2.5 percent. Transurban Group shares are trading 1.8 percent up following the company recording strong revenue growth for the September quarter.
Leighton Holdings, Fortescue Metals and WorleyParsons are trading higher by 1.6 to 1.8 percent. Woodside Petroleum and Metcash are also trading notably higher.
James Hardie Industries, David Jones, Goodman Group and QBE Insurance Group are down 1.5 to 2 percent. Echo Entertainment, Caltex Australia, Sonic Healthcare, PanAust, Iluka Resources and Asciano are also down with notable losses.
On the economic front, an index measuring consumer confidence in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent on month in October to a score of 108.3, the latest survey from Westpac and the Melbourne Institute revealed on Wednesday. That follows the downwardly revised 4.6 percent gain in September (originally 4.7 percent), when the index hit 110.6.
The index was up 0.8 points from a year earlier, and the score remained above 100 - which indicates that optimists continue to outnumber pessimists.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened flat against the U.S. dollar. Around noon, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9430, down slightly from Tuesday's close of US$0.9433.
The Japanese market opened lower with the overnight weak close on Wall Street and a stronger yen triggering some selling in early trades. However, the market rallied into positive territory past mid-morning, with investors indulging in some buying at lower levels following the yen losing some ground against the greenback.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which plunged to 13,751.8 in early trades, was up 60.9 points or 0.4 percent at 13,955.5 when the morning session ended.
Denki Kagaku Kogyo, Sumitomo Osaka Cement, Pacific Metals, Mitsubishi Materials, Mitsui Fudosan, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Sumco Corp., Heiwa Real Estate and Tokyo Tatemono gained 3.5 to percent.
Sumitomo Realty & Development, Taisei Corp., Matsui Securities, Mitsubishi Estate, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nippon Sheet Glass, Inpex Corp. and TDK Corp. all moved up by over 2.5 percent.
Showa Shell Sekiyu, Toho Zinc, Toyota Motor (TM), Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, JX Holdings, Pioneer Corp., Taiheiyo Cement and Nissan Motor also rose sharply.
Among the losers, Yahoo Japan lost over 6 percent, extending losses following the company's announcement to eliminate vendor fees for its shopping and auction websites. Softbank Corp. declined nearly 5 percent following a rating downgrade by Citigroup Inc.
Sony Corp. ( SNE ), J Front Retailing, Nippon Yusen KK, Chubu Electric Power, Mizuho Financial Group (MFJ), Shinsei Bank and Trend Micro also posted notable losses.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 96 yen level in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 97.16 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea are trading higher, while Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and Taiwan are down in negative territory. Indonesia is trading flat.
On Wall Street, stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday, as worries about the impact of the ongoing government shutdown continued to weigh on the markets.
The major averages ended the session at their worst levels of the day. The Dow tumbled 159.7 points or 1.1 percent to 14,776.5, the Nasdaq plummeted 75.5 points or 2 percent to 3,694.8 and the S&P 500 plunged 20.7 points or 1.2 percent to 1,655.4.
Major European markets too closed weak on Tuesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index slumped by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index lost 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended higher on Tuesday, with investors mulling over the inventory levels, cautiously optimistic for a consensus over the U.S. budget stand-off and an increase to the debt ceiling limit.
Crude for November delivery ended up $0.46 or 0.5 percent at $103.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $104.08 a barrel intraday.
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