Asian Markets Track Wall Street Higher

Asian stock markets are trading higher on Thursday, reflecting the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, after the minutes of the US Fed’s latest monetary policy meeting reiterated that a majority of participants expect one more interest rate hike will likely be appropriate before the end of the year. The continued decline by treasury yields from 16-year highs also aided the markets. Asian Markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday.

Traders now await the more closely watched report on US consumer price inflation in the month of September later in the day for clues on the outlook for interest rates.

Bolstered by the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, Australian shares are gaining for the sixth straight session on Thursday. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is moving a tad above the 7,100 level, with gains across most sectors led by financial and technology stocks after minutes of the US Fed’s last meeting raised expectations it will hold interest rates steady next month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 12.80 points or 0.18 percent to 7,101.20, after touching a high of 7,112.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 13.70 points or 0.19 percent to 7,295.00. Australian stocks ended significantly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are edging down 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.3 percent and Mineral Resources is losing almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed. Santos is losing almost 1 percent and Woodside Energy is edging down 0.1 percent, while Origin Energy and Beach energy are edging up 0.2 to 0.4 percent each.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 1 percent, Xero is adding more than 1 percent and Appen is up almost 3 percent, while Afterpay owner Block and Zip are advancing almost 2 percent each.

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

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are adding almost 1 percent each. Resolute Mining is flat.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.642 on Thursday.

Boosted by gains in exporters and technology stocks, Japanese shares are gaining for the third straight session on Thursday. The Nikkei 225 Index moved above the 32,300 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 32,323.28, up 386.77 points or 1.21 percent, after touching a high of 32,392.06 earlier. Japanese stocks closed notably higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and uniqlo operator Fast Retailing are edging up 0.4 percent each. Among automakers, Toyota and Honda are gaining more than 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 4 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding more than 3 percent and Screen Holdings is advancing almost 3 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are edging up 0.1 to 0.4 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is advancing almost 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Canon is adding more than 1 percent, Sony is gaining more than 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is up almost 1 percent and Panasonic is advancing almost 2 percent.

Among other major gainers, Lasertec and Yaskawa Electric are surging more than 6 percent each, while Renesas Electronics is gaining more than 5 percent. SMC and Taiyo Yuden are adding almost 5 percent each, while CyberAgent is up more than 4 percent. Aeon, Amada and Murata Manufacturing are rising almost 4 percent each, while TDK, Daiichi Sankyo, Keyence and Hitachi are advancing more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Inpex and J. Front Retailing are losing almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, producer prices in Japan were down 0.3 percent on month in September, the Bank of Japan said on or BoJ, Thursday. That missed expectations for an increase of 0.1 percent and was down from 0.3 percent in August. On a yearly basis, producer prices were up 2.0 percent – again shy of expectations for a gain of 2.3 percent and down from the upwardly revised 3.3 percent increase in the previous month (originally 3.2 percent).

The BoJ also said overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.9 percent on year in September, coming in at 607.742 trillion yen. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 3.1 percent, which would have been unchanged from the August reading. For the third quarter of 2023, overall lending was up 3.0 percent on year.

Further, the value of core machine orders in Jaan was down a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent on month in August, the Cabinet Office said on Thursday – coming in at 840.7 billion yen. That missed forecasts for a gain of 0.4 percent following the 1.1 percent drop in July.

On a yearly basis, orders were down 7.7 percent – again missing expectations for a fall of 7.3 percent after tumbling 13.0 percent in the previous month. For the third quarter of 2023, core machine orders are seen lower by 2.6 percent on quarter and 7.9 percent on year.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 149 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.7 percent, while New Zealand, China, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia are higher by between 0.4 and 1.0 percent. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.1 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday but managed to end the day mostly higher. With the upward move, the major averages all closed higher for the fourth consecutive session.

The major averages moved to the upside going into the close, ending the session near their best levels of the day. The Nasdaq advanced 96.83 points or 0.7 percent to 13,659.68, the S&P 500 climbed 18.71 points or 0.4 percent to 4,376.95 and the Dow rose 65.57 points or 0.2 percent to 33,804.87.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Wednesday, extending losses from the previous session, as Saudi Arabia’s pledge to help stabilize the market outweighed concerns about supply disruptions amid the tensions in the Middle East. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November sank $83.49 a barrel, down $2.48 or 2.9 percent.

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