Asian Markets Lower, Australia Bucks Trend

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(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets, with the exception of Australia, are in negative territory on Friday following the weak cues overnight from Wall Street as a surge in U.S.Treasury yields raised concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

Tech stocks are among the major losers in Asian trades after a report from Bloomberg Businessweek said China secretly inserted surveillance microchips into servers used by Apple and Amazon.

Investors now look ahead to the U.S. Labor Department's closely- watched monthly employment report for September due later in the day. The report is expected to show employment climbed by about 185,000 jobs in September after jumping by 201,000 jobs in August.

The Australian market is rising after a weak start following the negative cues from Wall Street. Oil stocks dipped following the overnight fall in crude oil prices, while banks are higher.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 16.30 points or 0.26 percent to 6,192.60, after touching a low of 6,160.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 14.00 points or 0.22 percent to 6,307.90. Australian shares ended higher on Thursday.

Oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices fell overnight. Santos is declining almost 2 percent, Oil Search is down 0.7 percent and Woodside Petroleum is lower by 0.6 percent.

Beach Energy said it will sell 40 percent of its Victorian Otway assets to OG Energy for A$344 million. The oil and gas explorer's shares are losing more than 5 percent.

Among the big miners, BHP is down 0.2 percent, Rio Tinto is declining 0.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing almost 1 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miner Evolution Mining is rising more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.6 percent despite gold prices edging lower.

Banks are also mostly higher, following gains by financial stocks in the U.S. Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent, while National Australia Bank is edging down 0.1 percent.

Retail giant Wesfarmers has requested a trading halt until Tuesday, pending an announcement on its planned A$20 billion de-merger of supermarket chain Coles.

Dexus Property Group has further expanded into the healthcare sector with a strategic investment in REIT manager Heathley Ltd, which will list on the ASX. Shares of Dexus are declining almost 1 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will provide retail sales data for August and also see September results for the Performance of Construction Index from AiG.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the surging U.S. dollar on Friday, though it continued to remain at near two-and-a-half year lows. The local currency was quoted at $0.7081, compared to $0.7066 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is notably lower, with a stronger yen and the negative cues overnight from Wall Street after a jump in U.S. treasury yields dampening sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 168.34 points or 0.70 percent to 23,807.28, after touching a low of 23,730.19 in early trades. Japanese shares closed lower on Thursday after rising earlier in the day.

Among tech stocks, Advantest is losing more than 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is down more than 3 percent.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Panasonic is losing more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is declining almost 1 percent and Sony is down 0.5 percent, while Canon is up 0.3 percent.

Among the major auto makers, Honda is down 0.5 percent, while Toyota is rising almost 1 percent.

Toyota and SoftBank said at a news conference in Tokyo that they plan to launch a joint venture, Monet Technologies, to offer mobility services by the end of March 2019. Shares of SoftBank are declining more than 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is advancing more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.7 percent, extending gains from the previous session.

In the oil space, Japan Petroleum is rising almost 1 percent, while Inpex is down more than 1 percent after crude oil prices fell overnight.

Among the other major gainers, FamilyMart UNY is gaining more than 5 percent and Tokyo Electric Power is rising more than 2 percent.

On the flip side, Tosoh Corp. and Furukawa Electric are losing more than 5 percent each, while Sumco Corp. is lower by more than 4 percent and Chiyoda Corp. is down almost 4 percent.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that the average of household spending in Japan was up 2.8 percent on year in August, coming in at 292,481 yen. That beat expectations for an increase of 0.1 percent, which would have been unchanged from July.

Japan will also release August numbers for its leading and coincident indexes today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 113 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are also lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Thursday as a recent jump by U.S. treasury yields raised concerns about the outlook for interest rates. With the ten-year yield reaching its highest levels in over seven years, traders seem worried the Federal Reserve may raise rates more aggressively than currently anticipated.

The Dow tumbled 200.91 points or 0.8 percent to 26,627.48, the Nasdaq plunged 145.57 points or 1.8 percent to 7,879.51 and the S&P 500 slumped 23.90 points or 0.8 percent to 2,901.61.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index fell by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures fell on Thursday after rallying to nearly four-year highs in the previous session, recording its worst single-session loss in about three weeks. WTI crude for November delivery fell $2.08 or 2.7 percent to $74.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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This article appears in: World Markets , 401k , Banking and Loans , Economy , Oil , Retirement

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