Asian Markets A Sea Of Red

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Monday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday on Friday, as traders reacted the growing unrest in China amid the zero-COVID policy with record-high domestic daily Covid-19 cases and the unprecedented COVID restrictions in several cities in China. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

Traders also once again refrained from making significant moves amid a lack of any other major triggers, even as they remain optimistic about slower interest rate hikes.

A speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is likely to attract attention along with the Fed’s Beige Book, as traders look for further clues about the outlook for interest rates.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,200 level, following mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness across most sectors amid the growing unrest in China over the unprecedented COVID restrictions.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 33.90 points or 0.47 percent to 7,225.60, after hitting a low of 7,216.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 32.20 points or 0.43 percent to 7,415.40. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is losing more than 1 percent, BHP Group is declining almost 1 percent and Mineral Resources is slipping almost 2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.3 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing more than 2 percent, Woodside Energy is declining more than 1 percent and Santos is down almost 2 percent, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent, Appen is slipping more than 3 percent and Zip is declining more than 2 percent, while WiseTech Global is gaining almost 1 percent. Xero is flat.

Gold miners are mostly weak. Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are losing more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is declining more than 2 percent. Northern Star Resources are edging up 0.4 percent and Resolute Mining is gaining almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each. National Australia Bank is edging up 0.2 percent.

Shares in Bank of Queensland are losing more than 6 percent after CEO George Frazis suddenly departed from the company.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.669 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Monday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 28,100 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness across most sectors amid the growing unrest in China over the unprecedented COVID restrictions and the zero-COVID policy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,107.79, down 175.24 or 0.62 percent, after hitting a low of 28,046.32 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.4 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are declining more than 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 2 percent each, while Advantest is declining almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing more than 2 percent, Mizuho Financial is down more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining almost 2 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower, with Canon and Panasonic edging down 0.4 to 0.5 percent each, while Sony is losing almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent.

Among the other major losers, CyberAgent is plunging almost 7 percent, while Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Mining are losing almost 4 percent each. Fukuoka Financial, JFE Holdings and Kobe Steel are declining more than 3 percent each, while Chiba Bank, Showa Denko K.K., Inpex and Sumitomo Realty & Development are down almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, there are no major gainers.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 138 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is surging 1.9 percent, while New Zealand, China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 1.1 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Friday with trading activity remaining subdued following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow ended the session at a new seven-month closing high.

The major averages eventually finished the shortened session mixed. While the Dow climbed 152.97 points or 0.5 percent to 34,347.03, the S&P 500 edged down 1.14 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 4,026.12 and the Nasdaq slid 58.36 points or 0.5 percent to 11,226.36.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved modestly higher on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index closed just above the unchanged line.

Crude oil futures pared early gains and settled lower on Friday with investors weighing the prospects for energy demand from China. Markets also continued to closely track the news about the discussions over a price cap on Russian crude. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended lower by $1.66 or about 2.1% at $76.28 a barrel. WTI Crude futures shed about 4.8% in the week.

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