(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly trading in positive territory on Wednesday, tracking cues from Wall Street where the major averages surged higher overnight on bargain hunting after recent losses.
Though most of the markets are trading higher, gains are just modest as buying interest remains somewhat subdued amid lingering worries about the outlook for the global economy on the back of recent weak data from the U.S. and China.
The Australian market is trading weak, with key financial and healthcare stocks posting notable losses on selling pressure. Consumer staples and mining stocks are also trading weak, while consumer discretionary stocks are fairly steady. Industrial, energy and property trusts stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which advanced to 5,111.3 in early trades, is currently down 21.4 points or 0.4 percent at 5,075.7. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 20.5 points or 0.4 percent at 5,093.6, well off the day's high of 5,128.6.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are down 0.8 to 1 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is down 0.6 percent, while Bank of Queensland is trading higher by 0.5 percent.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) is down 1 percent, while Rio Tinto (RIO) is trading higher by about 0.3 percent.
Monadelphous Group, Fortescue Metals, Lend Lease Group and Myer Holdings are trading higher by 2 to 3 percent. Stockland, Oil Search, Boral, Cochlear, Perpetual, AMP and Twenty-First Century Fox are up 1 to 1.6 percent.
Treasury Wine Estates, Beach Energy, Echo Entertainment Group, Metcash, James Hardie Industries, Seek and Goodman Group are trading lower by 1 percent to 2.2 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar was quoting at US$0.8908 around noon, up 0.4 percent from Tuesday's close of US$0.8867. The local currency, which was trading around US$0.8760 ahead of the central bank's rate decision on Tuesday, rose to US$0.8894 after the bank decided to hold interest rates at 2.5 percent.
The Japanese market surged higher with some strong earnings reports and bargain hunting lifting prices of several front line stocks. The overnight positive close on Wall Street also contributed to the upmove to an extent.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which had tumbled to a four-month low on Tuesday, rose to 14,245 in early trades, but gave up most of its gains subsequently as stocks faced resistance at higher levels. The index was up 52.7 points or 0.4 percent at 14,061.2 when the morning session ended.
Oki Electric Industry jumped 20 percent. Minebea rose 18 percent. Panasonic Corp. gained 17.5 percent after the company reported a third-quarter profit that beat estimates.
Dainippon Screen Manufacturing gained 12 percent. NTT Data Corp. rose nearly 11 percent and GS Yuasa Corp. moved up almost 10 percent. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Shinsei Bank and Meidensha Corp. gained 6 to 7 percent.
Shares of Toyota Motor ( TM ) rose 7 percent following the company forecasting a record profit. Sony Corp. ( SNE ) gained 6 percent on reports the company is in talks with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners to sell its PC business.
Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Taiheiyo Cement, Citizen Holdings, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Ube Industries, Toho Zinc, Casio Computer, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Olympus Corp., Inpex Corp., Mazda Motor and Pioneer Corp. all moved up by over 3 percent.
Kobe Steel lost more than 6 percent following an announcement from the company that it plans to raise as much as 100.6 billion yen through a stock sale this year.
In the currency market, the yen opened slightly weak against the U.S. dollar. The yen, which traded at 101.77 yen against the dollar in early deals, is currently hovering around 101.50 a dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand are trading higher, while Hong Kong is trading flat.
On Wall Street, stocks closed mostly higher on Tuesday, due largely to bargain hunting following recent weakness. However, buying interest was somewhat subdued due to weakness in emerging markets.
The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory but well off their highs for the session. The Dow rose 72.4 points or 0.5 percent to 15,445.2, the Nasdaq climbed 34.6 points or 0.9 percent to 4,031.5 and the S&P 500 advanced 13.3 points or 0.8 percent to 1,755.2.
Major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday. While French CAC 40 index edged up by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index dipped by 0.3 percent and the German DAX index ended lower by 0.6 percent.
U.S. crude oil ended higher on Tuesday, tracking rising global equity markets, ahead of the closely watched official supply data from the Energy Information Administration. Crude for March delivery ended up $0.76 or 0.8 percent to close at $97.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $97.71 a barrel intraday.
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