Asian Markets Mostly Lower
(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, on sliding crude oil prices and as traders are weighing the likely impact of the spread of the delta variant of coronavirus in the region and some other countries, particularly in the U.S., on the pace of economic recovery. Asian Markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday.
The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,500 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, as weak commodity prices and worries about a likely slowdown in global economic recovery hurt sentiment.
Traders are also getting restless amid concerns about the worsening domestic coronavirus situation in New South Wales and Victoria, with the rise in cases leading to restrictions and lockdowns.
NSW recorded 1,480 new local cases and nine deaths on Tuesday. Victoria has recorded 221 new cases of COVID-19, with 1,920 total active cases of coronavirus across Victoria.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 20.40 points or 0.27 percent to 7,509.90, after hitting a low of 7,476.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 21.30 points or 0.27 percent to 7,805.10. Australian stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday.
Among major miners, BHP Group is losing almost 1 percent, OZ Minerals is declining 3.5 percent and Rio Tinto is edging down 0.3 percent, while Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent and Mineral Resources is gaining almost 1 percent.
Oil stocks are mostly mixed. Woodside Petroleum and Santos are losing almost 1 percent each, while Beach energy is declining more than 2 percent and Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent. Oil Search is flat.
In the tech space, WiseTech Global is edging up 0.3 percent, while Xero is edging down 0.5 percent. Appen is losing more than 2 percent and Afterpay is declining 1.5 percent. Among the big four banks, Westpac and ANZ Banking are flat, while Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.3 percent each. Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is losing almost 3 percent, Newcrest Mining is down more than 2 percent, Northern Star Resources is declining almost 4 percent, Gold Road Resources is lower by almost 2 percent and Resolute Mining is losing more than 5 percent.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.739 on Wednesday.
The Japanese stock market is modestly higher after being in the red briefly earlier on Wednesday, extending the gains in the previous seven sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index breaking above the 30,000 mark, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, on better-than-expected GDP numbers and domestic political developments, even as traders remain extremely concerned as the country continues to struggle to contain the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 30,161.85, up 245.71 points or 0.82 percent, after touching a high of 30,241.87 and a low of 29,787.13 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly higher on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is surging almost 8 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent and Toyota is flat.
In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining almost 1 percent, Advantest is adding more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is up almost 1 percent.
In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding more than 2 percent. Among the major exporters, Panasonic is gaining more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 1 percent and Canon is edging up 0.1 percent, while Sony is edging down 0.5 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Rakuten Group is gaining almost 4 percent, while GS Yuasa, SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings, Hitachi Zosen and Shiseido adding almost 3 percent each.
Conversely, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, JFE Holdings, Kikkoman, Nisshin Seifun Group, Nippon Express, Fujikura and Maruha Nichiro are losing almost 2 percent each. In economic news, Japan's gross domestic product was up 1.9 percent on year in the second quarter of 2021, the Cabinet Office said on Wednesday. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.6 percent following the 3.7 percent contraction in the previous three months. On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, GDP was up 0.5 percent - again exceeding expectations for 0.4 percent after sinking 0.9 percent in the three months prior. Capital expenditure rose 2.3 percent on quarter, beating forecasts for 2.0 percent after slipping 1.3 percent in the first quarter.
Japan had a current account surplus of 1.910 trillion yen in July, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday, up 24.5 percent on year. That was shy of expectations for a surplus of 2.30 trillion following the 905.1 billion yen surplus in June. Exports were up 37.5 percent on year at 7.220 trillion yen, while imports jumped an annual 29.3 percent to 6.598 trillion yen for a trade surplus of 622.3 billion yen. The capital account showed a deficit of 5.0 billion yen following the 36.7 billion yen shortfall a month earlier.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 110 yen-range on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.1 and 0.9 percent each. Malaysia and Hong Kong are bucking the trend and are gaining 0.2 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks ended mixed on Tuesday after a somewhat cautious session with investors weighing the likely impact of surging coronavirus of the Delta variant on the pace of economic recovery. Expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold its accommodative monetary policy for a longer duration helped limit the market's downside.
The Nasdaq closed at a fresh record high, while the Dow and the S&P 500 drifted lower. The Dow ended down by 269.09 points or 0.76 percent at 35,100.00. The S&P 500 settled at 4,520.03, recording a loss of 15.40 points or 0.34 percent, while the Nasdaq ended up by 10.81 points or 0.07 percent at 15,374.33, after climbing to a new all-time high of 15,403.44.
Meanwhile, the major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended down by 0.53 percent, Germany's DAX slid 0.56 percent and France's CAC 40 shed 0.26 percent. Crude oil futures settled notably lower on Tuesday amid renewed worries about the outlook for energy demand due to continued surge in coronavirus cases in several countries. The drop in prices was also due to Saudi Arabia's decision to slash crude prices for Asia. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended down $0.94 or 1.4 percent at $68.35 a barrel.
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