Asian Markets Mostly Lower

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday with investors turning cautious amid worries about the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe on global economic growth and on receding hopes for new U.S. stimulus before the presidential election.

The Australian market is little changed following the mixed cues from Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 2.30 points or 0.04 percent to 6,048.70, after touching a low of 6,020.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 5.20 points or 0.08 percent to 6,252.40. Australian stocks touched a three-month low on Tuesday.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.8 percent to 1.0 percent, while ANZ Banking is losing more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices fell to a three-week low overnight. Oil Search is declining more than 1 percent, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are down almost 1 percent each.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are down 0.4 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is adding 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are higher after safe-haven gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is rising more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.6 percent.

Afterpay's shares are rising more than 6 percent after the buy-now-pay-later firm reported that its underlying sales for the first quarter more than doubled from last year.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that consumer prices in Australia were up 0.7 percent on year in the third quarter of 2020, in line with expectations, following the 0.3 percent decline in the previous three months.

The Reserve Bank of Australia's trimmed mean was up 0.4 percent on quarter and 1.2 percent on year after slipping 0.1 percent on quarter and gaining 1.2 percent on year in the second quarter.

The Japanese market is losing following the mixed lead from Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 96.28 points or 0.41 percent to 23,389.52, after touching a low of 23,334.23 in early trades. Japanese stocks closed little changed on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is advancing more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is adding 0.7 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger safe-haven yen. Canon is losing more than 3 percent, Panasonic is declining more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.6 percent, while Sony is advancing almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are declining more than 1 percent each. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 2 percent and Toyota is lower by almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is declining 0.5 percent and Tokyo Electron is down 0.3 percent.

ANA Holdings is losing almost 1 percent after the airline forecast operating loss of 505 billion yen for the year through March 2021 and said it is planning cost reductions of 150 billion yen in the current fiscal year under a restructuring plan.

Among the other major gainers, Screen Holdings and M3 are rising more than 2 percent each, while Z Holdings and Japan Exchange Group are higher by almost 2 percent each.

Conversely, Hitachi Construction Machinery is tumbling almost 7 percent and Fujitsu is losing more than 5 percent. Nippon Sheet Glass and Shinsei Bank are lower by almost 5 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 104 yen-range on Wednesday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Tuesday amid concerns about the recent spike in coronavirus cases as well as continued uncertainty about the prospects for a new stimulus bill. Traders were also reacting to some mixed economic data, with separate reports showing a jump in durable goods orders and an unexpected dip in consumer confidence.

The Nasdaq climbed 72.41 points or 0.6 percent to 11,431.35, while the Dow slid 222.19 points or 0.8 percent to 27,463.19 and the S&P 500 fell 10.29 points or 0.3 percent to 3,390.68.

The major European markets moved to the downside on Tuesday. The French CAC 40 Index tumbled 1.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped 1.1 percent and the German DAX Index slid 0.9 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Tuesday, lifted by reports about evacuation of over 150 offshore facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Zeta. WTI crude for December gained $1.01 or about 2.6 percent to $39.57 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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