(RTTNews.com) - Asian markets are mostly trading higher on Monday with investors indulging in some strong buying in several blue chip stocks. This is despite a flat lead from Wall Street where stocks saw a lackluster session on Friday.
In the Australian market, energy, mining healthcare, industrial and property trusts stocks are trading firm. Financial, consumer discretionary and information technology stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is trading at 5,350.3, up 26.2 points or 0.5 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 26.8 points or 0.5 percent at 5,350.6.
Among bank stocks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac (WBK) are trading modestly higher. National Australia Bank and ANZ Bank are trading flat. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up 1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Top miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are up 1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
In the energy sector, Caltex Australia is up 1.5 percent, Santos is up nearly a percent and Woodside Petroleum is trading 0.3 percent higher, while Oil Search and Origin Energy are up marginally.
Alumina (AWC) is up 2.6 percent. Arrium, Treasury Wine Estates, Westfield Retail Trust, Fortescue Metals, Cochlear and Sonic Healthcare are trading higher by 1.5 to 2.3 percent.
Sims Metal Management, Aurora Oil & Gas, Myer Holdings, Spark Infrastructure, CFS Retail Property Trust, Investa Office Fund, QBE Insurance Group and Tabcorp Holdings are up 1 to 1.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Orora and Orica are trading weak, losing 1.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
Shares of Leighton Holdings are down 1.2 percent after it announced that it has taken full ownership of its Indian-based joint venture, Leighton Welspun, by acquiring the Welspun Group's 39.9 percent stake in the joint venture for A$112.05 million.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened weak against the U.S. dollar. Around noon, the local unit was quoting at US$0.8850, down 0.6 percent from Friday's close of US$0.8906.
The Japanese market surged higher with investors picking up stocks following the yen sliding to 105.41 against the U.S. dollar, hitting a new five-year low.
Though the market retreated after a smart upmove, it edged higher again thanks to support at lower levels. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which declined to 16,182.7 after rising to 16,269.7 in early trades, was up 61.5 points or 0.4 percent at 16,240.4 at the end of the morning session.
Nippon Sheet Glass gained more than 5 percent. Sumitomo Realty & Development moved up by over 4 percent. Pioneer Corp., Sumco Corp. and Sharp Corp. gained 3 to 3.3 percent.
Mitsui Fudosan, Fuji Electric, Toyobo Co., JX Holdings, Japan Steel Works, Toho Zinc, NEC Corp., Advantest Corp. ( ATE ), Sony Corp. ( SNE ), Nikon Corp., Ricoh Co., Sony Financial Holdings, Bank of Yokohama, Mizuho Financial Group (MFJ), Inpex Corp. and Mitsui & Co. all moved up more than 2 percent.
Among the losers, Nippon Paper Industries declined more than 5 percent. Maruha Nichiro Holdings, Oji Holdings, Okuma Corp., Hokuetsu Kishu Paper, Nippon Suisan Kaisha and UNY Group Holdings lost 1 to 1.6 percent.
In the currency market, the yen is trading at 105.32 against the U.S. dollar. On Friday, the yen had closed at 105.26 against the greenback.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are trading notably higher. New Zealand and South Korea are up marginally, while Shanghai is trading weak.
On Wall Street, stocks mostly ended flat on Friday after showing a lack of direction through much of the trading session, with many traders staying away from their desks following the Christmas Day holiday on Wednesday. A lack of major economic reports too contributed to the sluggish trend in the market.
The major averages moved roughly sideways going into the close, finishing the day in the red. The Dow edged down 1.5 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 16,478.4, the Nasdaq declined by 10.6 points or 0.3 percent to 4,156.6 and the S&P 500 ended down 0.6 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 1,841.4.
Major European markets ended higher on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index jumped by 1.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended higher on Friday, after an Energy Information Administration weekly oil report showed stockpiles in the U.S. to have declined more than expected.
Crude for February delivery gained $0.77 or 0.8 percent to close at $100.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org