(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly trading higher on Wednesday, tracking positive cues from Wall Street where the major averages ended higher overnight with traders picking up stocks, shrugging off the partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
In the Australian market, financial, healthcare, property trusts, consumer discretionary and information technology stocks are trading higher, while energy and mining stocks are mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which advanced to around 5,231 in early trades, is currently up 12.7 points or 0.2 percent at 5,219.5. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 12.9 points or 0.2 percent at 5,219.2, off the day's high of 5,229.3.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are up 0.3 to 0.6 percent. Bank of Queensland is up marginally, while Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is trading higher by over 1.5 percent.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are down marginally. Newcrest Mining is trading nearly 4 percent down, while Fortescue Metals is gaining about 2 percent.
Bluescope Steel is trading higher by nearly 6 percent. Twenty-First Century Fox, Henderson Group, Aristocrat Leisure and Carsales.Com are up 2 to 3 percent.
PanAust, Tabcorp Holdings, Stockland, AGL Energy, Sydney Airport, Echo Entertainment Group and Primary Healthcare are also up with strong gains.
Meanwhile, Newcrest Mining, Regis Resources, ALS, UGL, Whitehaven Coal and James Hardie Industries are trading weak, losing 1 to 4 percent.
In economic news, Australia saw a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade deficit of A$815 million in August, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. That missed forecasts for a shortfall of A$400 million, but it narrowed significantly from the revised deficit of A$1.375 billion in July (originally called a shortfall of A$765 million). Exports added 3.0 percent on month to A$27.116 billion, while imports gained 1.0 percent to A$27.931 billion.
According to another report from the bureau, the total number of building approvals issued in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 4.7 percent on month in August at 13,687. That was well shy of forecasts for a decline of 0.5 percent following the downwardly revised 10.2 percent jump in July (originally reported as 10.8 percent).
On a yearly basis, approvals gained 7.7 percent - also missing forecasts for an increase of 12.8 percent following the 28.3 percent spike in the previous month.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened lower against the U.S. dollar. Around noon, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9374, down 0.5 percent from Tuesday's close of US$0.9420.
After a flat start and a subsequent smart upmove, the Japanese stock market faltered, with the yen's rise against the U.S. dollar triggering some selling.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which rose to 14,569.2 after opening at 14,492.5, was down 102.6 points or 0.7 percent at 14,382.1 at the end of the morning session.
Pacific Metals was down nearly 5 percent. Pioneer Corp., Ebara Corp., Sumitomo Electric Industries, Secom, Toho Zinc, Shionogi, Taiyo Yuden and Mitsubishi Materials lost over 3 percent.
Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, Sharp Corp., Hino Motors, Mitsubishi Paper Mills, Yokogawa Electric, Ube Industries and Nippon Electric Glassis were down 2 to 3 percent at the break. Furukawa, NTT Data Corp., Bank of Yokohama, Tokyo Tatemono, Chiba Bank, Isuzu Motors, Casio Computer, Citizen Holdings and Japan Steel Works also declined sharply.
Meanwhile, GS Yuasa Corp. moved up more than 3.5 percent following a rating upgrade. Softbank Corp. shares were up nearly 3.5 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said new iPhone sales at NTT DoCoMo Inc. may be more affected by inventory shortages than at other Japanese carriers.
KDDI Corp., Minebea Co., NSK, Dainippon Screen Manufacturing, Chubu Electric Power, Unitika, Aeon, Mitsui OSK Lines, Tokyo Electric Power, Resona Holdings, J Front Retailing and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding also posted notable gains.
On the economic front, the monetary base in Japan surged 46.1 percent on year in September to 181.701 trillion yen, the Bank of Japan said Wednesday. That follows the 42.0 percent annual increase in August. Banknotes in circulation were up 3.4 percent, while coins in circulation added 1.0 percent. Current account balances surged 139.2 percent, including a 137 percent spike in reserve balances.
The adjusted monetary base climbed 69.4 percent on year to 181.533 trillion yen. That follows the 40.3 percent surge in the previous month. For the third quarter of 2013, the monetary base jumped 42.0 percent on year.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 97 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 97.79 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia,New Zealand and Malaysia are trading firm, while Singapore is down marginally.
On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher on Tuesday, with traders shrugging off concerns about the economic impact of the government shutdown. An unexpected increase in U.S. manufacturing activity aided sentiment.
The Dow rose 62 points or 0.4 percent to 15,191.7, the Nasdaq jumped 46.5 points or 1.2 percent to 3,818 and the S&P 500 climbed 13.5 points or 0.8 percent to 1,695.
Major European markets ended higher on Tuesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index ended roughly flat, while French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index moved up 1.3 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil pared much of the losses but ended lower for a third straight session on Tuesday, as investors continued to mull over the impact of the partial shutdown of the U.S. Government on oil demand. Crude for November delivery dropped $0.29 or 0.3 percent to close at $102.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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