Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday following the negative cues from Wall Street as optimism generated by news that Russia has approved a vaccine for COVID-19 was offset by the stalemate in U.S. fiscal stimulus talks.
The Australian market is declining following the negative cues from Wall Street and as investors digested weak earnings results from Commonwealth Bank.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 30.40 points or 0.50 percent to 6,108.30 and the broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 36.90 points or 0.59 percent to 6,235.20. Australian stocks closed higher on Tuesday.
Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are higher in a range of 1.2 percent to 1.5 percent.
Commonwealth Bank reported an 11 percent decrease in cash net profit after tax for fiscal 2020 and said it has set aside A$2.5 billion for loan impairment expenses. The bank’s shares are edging down 0.1 percent.
Gold miners are weak after gold prices fell overnight. Evolution Mining is tumbling more than 7 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing almost 4 percent.
Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is lower by more than 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals and BHP Group are declining almost 1 percent each.
In the oil sector, Santos is declining almost 1 percent, Oil Search is lower by 0.6 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down 0.1 percent after crude oil prices ended lower overnight.
Transurban Group reported a loss and a 13 percent decrease in revenue for the year ended June 30, saying that subdued traffic levels due to the coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on its business. The toll road operator’s shares are lower by more than 1 percent.
In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that wage prices in Australia were up 1.8 percent on year in the second quarter of 2020. That was shy of expectations for 1.9 percent and down from 2.1 percent in the three months prior.
Australia will also see July figures for new home sales and August numbers for the Westpac consumer confidence index today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar was lower against the US dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7134, down from $0.7168 on Tuesday.
The Japanese market, which swung between gains and losses, is modestly higher after a weak start following the following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street. Nevertheless, a weaker yen boosted shares of exporters.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 55.96 points or 0.25 percent to 22,806.20, after earlier falling to a low of 22,670.74. The Japanese market closed notably higher on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 3 percent despite reporting a nearly 12 percent increase in first-quarter profit, while Fast Retailing is advancing almost 1 percent.
The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is higher by more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is advancing almost 1 percent and Canon is adding 0.4 percent, while Sony is declining almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is rising more than 1 percent and Advantest is adding 0.6 percent. In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by 2 percent.
Among automakers, Honda Motor and Toyota are advancing more than 1 percent each.
In the oil sector, Inpex and Japan Petroleum are adding almost 1 percent each even as crude oil prices declined overnight.
Among the other major gainers, Ebara Corp. is climbing more than 10 percent, NSK Ltd. is rising more than 5 percent and Hitachi Construction Machinery is gaining almost 5 percent.
Conversely, Rakuten is tumbling almost 8 percent, Japan Steel Works is losing more than 4 percent and Eisai Co. is lower by almost 4 percent.
In economic news, Japan will provide July figures for machine tool orders today.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 106 yen-range on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai and New Zealand are declining more than 1 percent each, while Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia are also lower. Indonesia is modestly higher and South Korea is edging higher.
On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday in a late-day sell-off as traders continued to cycle out of big-name tech stocks. Earlier, companies that have been hurt the most by the coronavirus pandemic benefited from news that Russia has approved a vaccine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming it works “quite effectively.” The speed of the development of the vaccine has raised questions about its safety, although the news still generated optimism the coronavirus pandemic can be contained in the relatively near future.
While the Nasdaq tumbled 185.53 points or 1.7 percent to 10,782.83, the Dow fell 104.53 points or 0.4 percent to 27,686.91 and the S&P 500 slid 26.78 points or 0.8 percent to 3,333.69.
The major European markets showed strong moves to the upside on Tuesday. While the French CAC 40 Index soared by 2.4 percent, the German DAX Index spiked by 2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index shot up by 1.7 percent.
Crude oil futures ended with a loss on Tuesday despite hitting a fresh 5-month high early in the session. WTI crude oil futures for September ended down $0.33 or about 0.8 percent at $41.61 a barrel.
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