Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the firmly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with traders indulging in bargain hunting and crude oil prices providing support, even as they continue to express concerns that the coronavirus situation in the region and other countries, particularly in the U.S., could dent the pace of global economic recovery. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday.

The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Monday, recouping the sharp losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,300 level, following the firmly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with travel, financial and energy stocks gaining. Sentiment was lifted following the prospects of the borders opening soon even as the domestic coronavirus situation remains a concern, with the two largest cities of Melbourne and Sydney still under lockdown.

NSW reported 623 new locally acquired cases and six deaths on Sunday. Victoria also recorded 1,377 new locally acquired cases and four deaths, with the total active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria standing at 12,711.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 75.10 points or 1.05 percent to 7,260.60, after touching a high of 7,305.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 73.60 points or 0.98 percent to 7,560.20. Australian stocks closed sharply lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and OZ Minerals are flat, while Rio Tinto is edging down 0.5 percent, Fortescue Metals is losing more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is declining almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are higher, with Origin Energy gaining almost 4 percent, Beach energy adding almost 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum up more than 1 percent, while Oil Search and Santos are higher by more than 2 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Afterpayis gaining almost 2 percent each and WiseTech Global is adding more than 1 percent, while Xero is losing more than 1 percent and Appen is down almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are higher. Evolution Mining, Resolute Mining and Northern Star Resources are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are edging up 0.4 percent each.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are up more than 2 percent each, while Westpac is adding almost 2 percent. Commonwealth Bank is gaining more than 5 percent after it completed its $6 billion off-market share buy-back which was heavily over-subscribed by $18 billion.

The travel sector is also higher as traders weigh the prospect of borders reopening for travel. Flight Centre is gaining almost 7 percent, Webjet is adding more than 5 percent, Corporate Travel is up more than 3 percent and Qantas is higher by almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.726 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Monday, extending the losses in the previous four sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying just below the 28,500 level, ignoring the firmly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders reacted to rising inflation worries and the grim domestic coronavirus infections situation, even as the nation readies to open up after is completely lifted COVID-19 state of emergencies.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,497.57, down 273.50 points or 0.95 percent, after hitting a low of 28,375.26 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 3 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 2 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 3 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are down more than 2 percent each. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.3 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 1 percent, while Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are lower, with Panasonic losing more than 3 percent, Sony edging down 0.5 percent, Mitsubishi Electric declining 1.5 percent and Canon down almost 1 percent.

Among the other major losers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Nippon Yusen are losing almost 8 percent each, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is down almost 6 percent. TDK, Taiyo Yuden and Murata Manufacturing are down almost 4 percent each. FUJIFILM Holdings and Fanuc are lower by more than 3 percent each, while Konami Holdings, Toto, Nippon Electric Glass and M3 are declining almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and J. Front Retailing are gaining almost 5 percent each, while Inpex and Takashimaya are adding more than 4 percent each. Mitsubishi Motors, Keisei Electric Railway and Sojitz are higher by almost 4 percent each, while Tokyu Fudosan, ANA Holdings, Sumitomo Realty & Development, Tokyo Electric Power, NSK, IHI, Marui Group and Mitsui Fudosan are up more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 111 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore is gaining 1.3 percent, while New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.9 percent each. Hong Kong is plunging 2.5 percent and Taiwan is down 0.4 percent. China remains closed for the National Day holiday and South Korea is also off for National Foundation Day.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, after seeing substantial volatility early in the session. With the rally, the major averages regained ground following the steep drop seen in the previous session.

The major averages pulled back off their highs going into the close but remained firmly positive. The Dow surged 482.54 points or 1.4 percent to 34,326.46, the Nasdaq advanced 118.12 points or 0.8 percent to 14,566.70 and the S&P 500 jumped 49.50 points or 1.2 percent to 4,357.04.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index closed just below the unchanged line, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices recovered after a weak start and settled higher Friday ahead of this week’s meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November rose $0.85 or 1.1 percent at $75.88 a barrel. WTI crude futures gained 2.6 percent in the week.

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