Asian Markets Mixed In Cautious Trades

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, as traders are cautious after data showed new home prices in 70 of China's major cities fell at a faster pace year-on-year in January. Strong gains were seen in technology stocks amid robust demand outlook for chips used in AI products offered by chipmaker Nvidia. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.

Expanding the gains in the previous session, the Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is staying above the 7,600 level, boosted by strong gains in technology stocks which mirrored their peers on Nasdaq amid strong demand outlook for chips used in AI products.

Traders also reacted to recent domestic data showing private sector activity in Australia returned to growth in February for the first time in five months.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 35.20 points or 0.46 percent to 7,646.40, after touching a high of 7,661.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 36.5 points or 0.46 percent to 7,901.80. Australian markets ended slightly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group, Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are all edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each. Oil stocks are mostly weak. Woodside Energy and Origin Energy are losing almost 1 percent each, while Beach energy is down more than 1 percent. Santos is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global and Zip are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Xero is adding almost 3 percent, Appen is advancing 6.5 percent and Afterpay owner Block is soaring more than 15 percent after its sales for the December quarter beat analysts' expectations and revealed plans to integrate Afterpay into its Cash App in the US.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are gaining almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank is adding more than 1 percent. Gold miners are mixed. Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are adding more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is losing almost 2 percent, Northern Star Resources is declining more than 2 percent and Newmont is sliding more than 7 percent on news it is seeking to sell six mines and two projects as part of an effort to generate $3.1 billion in cash.

In other news, shares in Aussie Broadband are soaring almost 15 percent after it posted growth in sales, home internet subscribers and profits for the first half.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.657 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is closed on observance of Emperor's Birthday on Friday. Japanese stocks closed sharply higher on Thursday.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 150 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each. Singapore is down 1.0 percent, while Hong Kong and Indonesia are down 0.1 and 0.7 percent, respectively. New Zealand and China are relatively flat. On Wall Street, stocks showed a substantial move to the upside during trading on Thursday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reaching new record closing highs. The tech-heavy Nasdaq had also been poised to set a record closing high but ended the day just shy of its November 2021 levels.

The major averages held on to strong gains going into the close, ending the sharply higher. The Nasdaq skyrocketed 460.75 points or 3.0 percent to 16,041.62, the S&P 500 surged 105.23 points or 2.1 percent to 5,087.03 and the Dow jumped 456.87 points or 1.2 percent to 39,069.11.

The major European markets all also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index surged by 1.5 the 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index shot up by 1.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil climbed higher on Thursday as rising tensions in the Middle East raised the possibility of a near-term supply disruption. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for April added $0.70 or 0.9 percent at $78.61 a barrel.

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


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