Asian Markets Higher With Modest Gains

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are higher on Monday amid improved risk appetite following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday on news that the U.S. and China are close to finalizing parts of a 'phase one' trade deal. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he plans to sign the deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit in Chile next month. However, gains are modest in most markets.

The Australian market is rising for a third straight session following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 21.20 points or 0.31 percent to 6,760.40, after rising to a high of 6,766.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 20.30 points or 0.30 percent to 6,861.30. Australian stocks closed higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals are all advancing more than 1 percent each.

Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices rose moderately on Friday. Oil Search is advancing more than 1 percent, Santos is adding 0.7 percent and Woodside Petroleum is rising 0.3 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is rising 0.2 percent.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission or ASIC has imposed additional license conditions on IOOF Holdings that include the appointment of vetted independent directors and increased internal monitoring. The wealth manager's shares are adding 0.4 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.1 percent and Evolution Mining is unchanged after gold prices rose moderately on Friday.

Rural Funds Group said it has agreed to sell its network of 17 poultry farms to ProTen Investment Management for a combined A$72 million and reinvest in three cattle properties in Western Australia. The company's shares are higher by more than 1 percent.

Virgin Australia said it plans to raise another A$150 million to help fund its attempt to buy the remaining 35 percent stake in the Velocity frequent flyer program that it does not already own, from private equity group Affinity Equity Partners. The airline's shares are declining almost 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6823, up from $0.6821 on Friday.

The Japanese market is modestly higher and the safe-haven yen weakened following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 54.02 points or 0.24 percent to 22,853.83, after rising to a high of 22,891.62 earlier. Japanese stocks closed at a fresh one-year high on Friday.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is gaining more than 2 percent and Advantest is adding more than 1 percent. Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is rising almost 1 percent and Toyota Motor is up 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker safe-haven yen. Sony is rising more than 1 percent and Panasonic is adding almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is losing almost 1 percent and Canon is down 0.2 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding 0.3 percent, while Fast Retailing is lower by 0.2 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is advancing almost 1 percent and japan Petroleum is higher by 0.7 percent.

Among the worst performers, Taisei Corp. is losing almost 3 percent.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were up 0.5 percent on year in September, in line with expectations and unchanged from the August reading following a downward revision from 0.6 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Taiwan are also higher with modest gains. The markets in Singapore, India, New Zealand and Malaysia are closed for holidays.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday after a statement from the U.S. Trade Representative's office said the U.S. and China have made progress toward finalizing a phase one trade deal. The statement was released by the USTR following a phone call between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. The upbeat comments about the trade talks added to the positive sentiment seen in reaction to the latest batch of corporate earnings results.

The Dow climbed 152.53 points or 0.6 percent to 26,958.06, the Nasdaq advanced 57.32 points or 0.7 percent to 8,243.12 and the S&P 500 rose 12.26 points or 0.4 percent to 3,022.55.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices closed moderately higher on Friday. WTI crude for December delivery rose $0.43 to $56.66 a barrel, ending the session at its best closing level in a month.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.