Markets

Asian Markets Notably Lower

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets, led by South Korea, are notably lower on Thursday amid worries about the global economic recovery due to urging coronavirus cases in certain parts of the world and uncertainty about new U.S. fiscal stimulus. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted that despite progress in rebounding from the coronavirus economic downturn, "there is a long way to go."

The Australian market is declining following the weak cues from Wall Street and as investors digested news that Westpac will pay a record fine of A$1.3 billion to settle a money-laundering case. Stocks are lower across the board.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 64.60 points or 1.09 percent to 5,859.30, after falling to a low of 5,824.80. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 68.60 points or 1.12 percent to 6,042.70.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are lower in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.9 percent.

Westpac will pay a record fine of A$1.3 billion, the largest civil penalty in Australian corporate history, for breaching money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

Gold miners are weak after gold prices fell to a fresh two-month low overnight. Evolution Mining is tumbling more than 5 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing almost 3 percent.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search is losing more than 3 percent, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are lower by almost 2 percent each even as crude oil prices rose modestly overnight.

In the mining sector, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are declining more than 1 percent each.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. counterparts lower. Afterpay is lower by more than 3 percent, while Appen and WiseTech Global are declining more than 1 percent each.

The Japanese market is losing after U.S. stocks closed sharply lower. Investors also turned cautious as they digested minutes of the Bank of Japan's July monetary policy meeting.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 163.42 points or 0.70 percent to 23,183.07, after touching a low of 23,096.56 in early trades. Japanese shares ended little changed with a negative bias on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 3 percent and Fast Retailing is down 0.3 percent.

The major exporters are lower despite a weaker yen. Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are declining more than 1 percent each, while Canon is lower by 0.4 percent and Sony is edging down 0.1 percent.

In the financial sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.4 percent.

Among automakers, Honda is lower by almost 3 percent and Toyota is declining more than 1 percent. In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is sliding more than 2 percent and Inpex is down more than 1 percent.

In the tech sector, Tokyo Electron is rising more than 2 percent, while Advantest is down 0.2 percent.

Among the major decliners, Toho Zinc is tumbling more than 5 percent and Japan Steel Works is losing almost 5 percent. Nippon Sheet Glass, JFE Holdings and Sumitomo Metal Mining are all lower by more than 4 percent each.

In economic news, members of the Bank of Japan's monetary policy board said that the economy had suffered a severe downturn due to Covid-19, although it was starting to see signs of recovery, minutes from the bank's meeting on July 14-15 revealed on Thursday.

The members added that the bank is likely to maintain its accommodative stance indefinitely, or at least until the 2 percent price target is achieved.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 105 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Taiwan are losing more than 2 percent each, while Hong Kong is lower by almost 2 percent. Shanghai and Indonesia are declining more than 1 percent each. Singapore and New Zealand are also lower, while Malaysia is modestly higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday, reflecting renewed weakness among technology stocks. Concerns about surging coronavirus cases in certain parts of the world may also have weighed on the markets even as President Donald Trump indicated the U.S. would not follow the U.K.'s lead and implement a second round of lockdowns.

The Dow tumbled 525.05 points or 1.9 percent to 26,763.13, the Nasdaq plummeted 330.65 points or 3 percent to 10,632.99 and the S&P 500 plunged 78.65 points or 2.4 percent to 3,236.92.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Wednesday, supported by data showing a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. WTI crude for November ended higher by $0.13 or about 0.3 percent at $39.93 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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