(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are mixed on Thursday despite the record closing highs overnight on Wall Street. Investors remained cautious as they looked ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium later in the day. In addition, geopolitical concerns weighed on the markets following news that Beijing fired missiles into the South China Sea.
The Australian market is rising following the record highs overnight on Wall Street.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 27.20 points or 0.44 percent to 6,143.60, off a high of 6,145.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 32.10 points or 0.51 percent to 6,326.60. Australian stocks closed lower on Wednesday.
Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is advancing more than 1 percent, while BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are adding almost 1 percent each.
Gold miners are notably higher after gold prices rose to a one-week high overnight. Evolution Mining is higher by more than 3 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising almost 3 percent.
Meanwhile, oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices ended little changed overnight. Woodside Petroleum is losing more than 3 percent, Santos is lower by more than 1 percent and Oil Search is down 0.6 percent.
In the banking space, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 1.2 percent to 1.4 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is down 0.7 percent.
Woolworths Group reported a 1 percent decrease in full-year profit, while sales rose 8 percent. The supermarket giant's shares are rising more than 2 percent.
Afterpay reported a loss for the full year that narrowed from last year, while the number of active customer users more than doubled. The buy now pay later group's shares are advancing more than 1 percent.
The Japanese market is modestly lower despite the overnight gains on Wall Street, while the safe-haven yen strengthened.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 51.04 points or 0.22 percent to 23,239.82, after rising to a high of 23,323.07 in early trades. Japanese stocks edged lower on Wednesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is down 0.3 percent and Fast Retailing is lower by 0.7 percent.
The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Canon is declining more than 1 percent and Sony is down 0.1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.4 percent and Panasonic is edging up 0.1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is lower by more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is down 0.6 percent. In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are lower by more than 1 percent each.
Among automakers, Toyota and Honda Motor are declining almost 1 percent each. In the oil sector, Inpex is lower by almost 3 percent and Japan Petroleum is losing more than 2 percent after crude oil prices ended flat overnight.
Among the major gainers, Recruit Holdings is gaining almost 7 percent, while Alps Apline, Cyberagent, Fujitsu and Z Holdings are all rising more than 2 percent each. Conversely, JTEKT Corp. is losing more than 3 percent, while Tokyu Fudosan, NSK and T&D Holdings are all lower by almost 3 percent each.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 105 yen-range on Thursday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, New Zealand and Indonesia are also higher, while South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong are all lower.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Wednesday, reflecting optimism about the outlook for the economy after a report from the Commerce Department showed durable goods orders spiked by much more than expected in the month of July. Adding to the positive sentiment, biotechnology company Moderna announced promising results from a small trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in elderly patients. Moderna told a government advisory committee that its experimental vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies and appeared to be well tolerated.
While the Dow rose 83.48 points or 0.3 percent to a six-month closing high of 28,331.92, the Nasdaq surged up 198.59 points or 1.7 percent to 11,665.06 and the S&P 500 jumped 35.11 points or 1 percent to 3,478.73.
The major European markets also moved mostly higher on Wednesday. The German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent.
Crude oil futures ended roughly flat on Wednesday, with traders weighing the likely impact of Hurricane Laura and data showing another drop in U.S. crude inventories. WTI crude for October delivery inched up $0.04 to $43.39 a barrel.
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