Asian Markets Trading Mostly Higher

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday with a few closed for Lunar New Year holidays, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with the continued spike in crude oil prices and as traders continued to pick up stocks at a bargain after a big sell-off earlier last week amid hawkish Fed comments.

Meanwhile, worries about the fast spreading coronavirus Omicron variant's impact on global economic growth continues to impact market sentiment. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

Expectations for an aggressive tightening of monetary policy by the Fed also quelled a bit following the data from the U.S. on core consumer price growth and personal income and spending.

Core consumer price growth accelerated to a nearly 40-year high in December. This reading on inflation, which is said to be preferred by the Fed, showed the annual rate of growth accelerated to reach the highest level since September 1983. The report also showed that personal spending fell.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, giving up some of the sharp gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,000 mark, despite the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness in financial and mining stocks partially offset by strength in technology stocks.

Meanwhile, traders remain concerned over the domestic Covid-19 cases, though the daily new cases are on a steady decline. New South Wales reported 13,026 new cases and 27 deaths on Sunday and Victoria also reported 10,053 new cases and eight deaths. Queensland 7,462 new cases and three deaths. ACT reported 537 new cases, South Australia reported 1,505 new cases, Northern Territory reported 812 new cases and Tasmania reported 504 new cases.

Traders are also cautiously looking ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's first monetary policy meeting of the year on Tuesday for cues on the interest rate hike and the economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 26.30 points or 0.38 percent to 6,961.80, after hitting a low of 6,932.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down12.60 points or 0.17 percent to 7,253.70. Australian stocks closed sharply higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto and BHP Group are losing more than 2 percent each, while Mineral Resources is gaining more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent. OZ Minerals is sliding more than 3 percent. Oil stocks are higher, with Woodside Petroleum and Santos are edging up 0.5 percent each, while Origin Energy is gaining more than 2 percent and Beach energy is surging almost 4 percent.

Among tech stocks, Appen and WiseTech Global are gaining almost 4 percent each, while Zip is soaring 7.5 percent, Xero is adding 2.5 percent and Block is surging 6.5 percent.

Gold miners are mixed. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are edging up 0.3 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is slipping almost 4 percent, Northern Star Resources is declining more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is plunging more than 4 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are losing almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are declining more than 1 percent each.

Shares in Ansell are tumbling more than 15 percent after the personal protective equipment maker downgraded its full-year guidance.

In economic news, total private sector credit in Australia was up 0.8 percent on month in December, the Reserve Bank of Australia said on Monday, easing from 0.9 percent in November. On a yearly basis, credit was up 7.2 percent, accelerating from 6.6 percent in the previous month. Housing credit was up 0.7 percent on month and 7.4 percent on year, while personal credit sank 0.8 percent on month and 3.8 percent on year and business credit was up 1.1 percent on month and 8.4 percent on year. Broad money gained 1.5 percent on month and 9.5 percent on year.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.701 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the sharp gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 just below the 27,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with technology stock leading the charge.

Meanwhile, traders also remain concerned about the spike in domestic coronavirus cases, with Japan topping 70,000 daily new cases for the fourth straight day and hitting record highs for the past almost two weeks. A majority of the 47 prefectures under quasi-state of emergency, with Tokyo expected go into virus state of emergency soon.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,981.89, up 264.55 points or 0.99 percent, after touching a high of 26,995.65 and a low 26,541.65 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 4 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 1 percent, while Toyota is edging up 0.5 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 4 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding almost 2 percent and Screen Holdings is up 1.5 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing more than 2 percent, while Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are down 1.5 percent each.

The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic and Canon edging up 0.5 percent, while Sony is gaining more than 3 percent. Mitsubishi Electric is losing almost 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Alps Alpine is soaring almost 18 percent and Z Holdings is surging 5.5 percent, while Olympus and Recruit Holdings are adding 4.5 percent. Japan Steel Works and M£ are gaining more than 4 percent each, while TDK, Japan Exchange Group and Minebea Mitsumi are adding almost 4 percent each. Conversely, Chubu Electric Power is plunging more than 9 percent, Omron is losing almost 8 percent, Tokyo Electric Power is slipping more than 6 percent and Seiko Epson is down more than 4 percent.

In economic news, the value of retail sales in Japan was up 1.4 percent on year in December, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Monday - coming in at 14.656 trillion yen. That missed expectations for an increase of 2.7 percent and was down from 1.9 percent in November. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, retail sales were down 1.0 percent after rising an upwardly revised 1.3 percent in November (originally 1.2 percent). For the fourth quarter of 2021, retail sales were up 1.4 percent on year and 2.0 percent on quarter; for all of 2021, retail sales were up 1.9 percent.

Industrial output in Japan was also up 2.7 percent on year in December, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Monday. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 3 percent and down from 5.1 percent in November. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, industrial production sank 1.0 percent, again missing forecasts for a drop of 0.8 percent following the 7.0 percent spike in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-115 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore are higher by between 0.6 and 0.8 percent each. Indonesia is bucking the trend and is down 0.2 percent. Malaysia is relatively flat. South Korea, Taiwan and China are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant turnaround over the course of the trading session on Friday continuing the rollercoaster ride seen throughout the week. The major averages came under pressure to start the day but rebounded strongly to end the day sharply higher.

The major averages all posted strong gains for the day, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the rally. While the Nasdaq spiked 417.79 points or 3.1 percent to 13,770.57, the S&P 500 surged 105.34 points or 2.4 percent to 4,431.85 and the Dow jumped 564.69 points or 1.7 percent to 34,725.47.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices settled modestly higher on Friday, with prices climbing up amid concerns of tight supplies. Rising geopolitical concerns and limited output increases by major crude producers amid a surge in fuel demand contributed to the uptick in oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $0.21 or about 0.2% at $88.82 a barrel. WTI futures, which rose to the highest level in over seven years, gained about 2% in the week.

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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