Asian Markets Track Global Markets Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Friday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, amid renewed concerns about the health of the U.S. banking sector after lenders PacWest Bancorp and First Horizon said they were reviewing their options. Continued uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates also weighed following the US Fed’s tenth straight rate hike. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Friday, recouping some of the losses in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,200 level, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, boosted by gains in gold miners and technology losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 18.50 points or 0.26 percent to 7,211.60, after touching a high of 7,213.30 and a low of 7,168.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 15.80 points or 0.21 percent to 7,404.00. Australian markets ended slightly lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are declining more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is slipping almost 2 percent and Mineral Resources is losing almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Energy, Beach energy, Santos and Origin Energy are all edging up 0.1 to 0.2 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Xero is edging down 0.2 percent, while Appen is advancing almost 4 percent and Afterpay owner Block is gaining more than 1 percent. WiseTech Global and Zip is flat.

Among the big four banks, Westpac and ANZ Banking are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.5 percent. National Australia Bank is losing almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are higher. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are adding more than 2 percent each, while Resolute Mining and Northern Star Resources are advancing almost 1 percent each. Gold Road Resources is gaining 1.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.672 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is closed on account of Children’s Day on Friday. Japanese stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday prior to the holidays on Wednesday and Thursday.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 134 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China and Indonesia lower by between 0.7 and 0.8 percent each, while Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan are down between 0.1 and 0.2 percent each. Hong Kong is bucking the trend and it up 0.3 percent. South Korea is closed for Children’s Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday, extending a recent losing streak. The Dow showed a notable move to the downside, ending the session at its lowest closing level in a month and slightly negative for 2023.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq briefly peeked above the unchanged line in afternoon, but the major averages all finished the day in the red. The Dow slumped 286.50 points or 0.9 percent to 33,127.74, the Nasdaq fell 58.93 points or 0.5 percent to 11,966.40 and the S&P 500 slid 29.53 points or 0.7 percent to 4,061.22.

The major European markets all also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index fell by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil futures pared early losses and settled just slightly lower on Thursday, due largely to some short-covering and speculative buying. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down $0.04 at $68.56 a barrel, recovering well from a low of $63.57 a barrel.

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