Markets

Asian Markets Mostly Higher

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Thursday following the modest gains on Wall Street and as upbeat corporate earnings results helped offset concerns about the Brexit uncertainty and the U.S.-China trade war. Overnight, luxury electric car maker Tesla reported a surprise third-quarter profit, while software giant Mircrosoft reported results for the first quarter that beat analysts' expectations.

The Australian market is rising following the positive cues from Wall Street. Resources stocks are among the leading gainers, reflecting higher commodity prices. Investors also digested mixed corporate earnings results.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 34.70 points or 0.52 percent to 6,707.80, after rising to a high of 6715.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 34.30 points or 0.51 percent to 6,812.50. Australian stocks recovered from an early sell-off to end nearly flat on Wednesday.

Oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices rose to a one-month high overnight. Santos and Woodside Petroleum are higher by more than 2 percent each and Oil Search is up more than 1 percent.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are adding almost 1 percent each, buoyed by higher iron ore and copper prices.

Fortescue Metals reported a 5 percent increase in iron ore shipments for the first quarter, reflecting sustained demand from China. The miner's shares are rising almost 2 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are advancing in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent.

AMP said its third-quarter net cash outflows at its Australian wealth management unit rose more than 30 percent amid the fallout of the financial services royal commission. However, the wealth manager's shares are gaining almost 2 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is declining 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is higher by almost 1 percent after gold prices snapped a three-day losing streak and closed higher overnight.

JB Hi-Fi said its first-quarter Australian sales rose 3.7 percent and reiterated its full-year revenue outlook. The electronics and home retailer's shares are gaining more than 8 percent.

Qantas Airways reported a 1.8 percent increase in first-quarter revenues, but said deteriorating global trade conditions reduced freight demand and will cut its full-year profit by between A$25 million and A$30 million. The airline's shares are losing more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6851, up from $0.6846 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is advancing following the positive cues from Wall Street, while a weaker yen boosted exporters' shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 115.77 points or 0.51 percent to 22,741.15, after rising to a high of 22,771.52 earlier.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is advancing more than 1 percent, Canon is rising 0.7 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.4 percent, while Sony is down 0.6 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is advancing more than 1 percent, while Advantest is declining 0.7 percent.

The Nikkei business daily reported that tech giant Apple will be among a group of backers expected to provide as much as 40 billion yen in support for troubled screen maker Japan Display or JDI. Shares of Japan Display are gaining more than 10 percent.

Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is adding more than 1 percent and Toyota Motor is up 0.5 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 3 percent, while Fast Retailing is edging up 0.1 percent.

Nidec reported a 41 percent decrease in second-quarter profit from last year and also cut its profit outlook for the full year. The precision motor maker's shares are down 0.5 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Yamato Holdings is rising more than 4 percent, Hino Motors is advancing almost 4 percent and Mitsui E&S Holdings is higher by more than 3 percent.

On the flip side, Toray Industries is losing more than 3 percent.

In economic news, Japan will see final August numbers for its leading and coincident indexes, preliminary October figures for the manufacturing PMI from Nikkei, and the services and composite indexes from Jibun today.

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

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Wednesday in choppy trading as traders digested the latest batch of earnings news from big-name companies like Boeing and Caterpillar. Overall trading activity was somewhat subdued, however, with a lack of major U.S. economic data keeping some traders on the sidelines.

The Dow edged up 45.85 points or 0.2 percent to 26,833.95, the Nasdaq rose 15.50 points or 0.2 percent to 8,119.79 and the S&P 500 climbed 8.53 points or 0.3 percent to 3,004.52.

The major European markets finished mixed on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures rose sharply and settled at a one-month high on Wednesday after data showed an unexpected decline in crude inventories in the U.S. last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended up $1.49 or 2.7 percent at $55.97 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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