Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher


(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Thursday, despite the broadly negative cues overnight from the global markets, as traders are slightly relived after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is not trying to engineer a recession to stop inflation but is fully committed to bringing prices under control, even at the risk of an economic slowdown. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday.

Powell noted in his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee that the Fed plans to continue moving expeditiously to combat inflation but argued the US economy is strong enough to handle tighter monetary policy.

He added that the pace of future interest rate hikes will be dependent on incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy and suggested the Fed will need to see “compelling evidence” that inflation is slowing before it begins to scale back its monetary policy tightening plans .

Despite about higher rates tipping the economy into a recession, Powell argued the US economy is very strong and well positioned to handle tighter monetary policy.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Thursday, recuping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 6,500 level, despite the broadly negative cues overnight from the global markets, with gains in technology and financial stocks, partially offset by weakness in materials and energy stocks amid tumbling commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 15.40 points or 0.24 percent to 6,523.90, after touching a high of 6,551.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 2.60 points or 0.04 percent to 6,684.90. Australian stocks ended slightly lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group, OZ Minerals and Rio Tinto are losing almost 3 percent each, while Mineral Resources is down 1.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is sliding almost 5 percent.

Oil stocks are lower. Santos is losing 2.5 percent, Woodside Energy is declining more than 3 percent, Beach energy is down more than 2 percent and Origin Energy is slipping almost 1 percent.

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

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and Westpac are gaining almost 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking is adding more than 1 percent and Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.3 percent.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are flat. Newcrest Mining is gaining almost 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is edging down 0.3 percent and Resolute Mining is declining more than 2 percent.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in June, and at a slightly faster rate, the latest survey from S&P Global revealed on Thursday with a manufacturing PMI score of 55.8. That’s up from 55.7 in May, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services index slipped to 52.6 in June from 53.2 in May, while the composite index eased to 52.6 from 52.9.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.689 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is edging down in choppy trading on Thursday after being in the green in most of the morning session, extending the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 26,100 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from the Global markets, amid worries persistent inflation and interest rate hikes could push towards a recession.

The Bank of Japan’s April policy meeting showed many board members stressed the need to maintain the central bank’s massive stimulus program to support a still-fragile economy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,146.71, down 2.84 points or 0.01 percent, after hitting a low of 26,104.37 and a high of 26,401.97 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing are gaining almost 2 percent each. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are losing almost 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Advantest is flat.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each.

Among the major exporters, Sony, Panasonic and Canon are losing almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 1 percent. Among the other major losers, Shionogi & Co. And Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are losing almost 5 percent each, while Mitsui OSK Lines is down more than 3 percent. Sumitomo Metal Mining and Tosoh are declining almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Tokyu and Sumitomo Pharma are gaining more than 3 percent each, while IHI, Tokio Marine and Chugai Pharmaceutical are adding almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in June, albeit at a slower rate, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Thursday with a manufacturing PMI score of 52.7. That’s down from 53.3 in May, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services index improved to 54.2 in June from 52.6 in May, while the composite index rose to 53.2from 52.3.

In the currency market, the US dollar is trading in the lower 135 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand is up 1.1 percent, while China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each. South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.3 and 0.9 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday after recovering from an early move to the downside. he major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing modestly lower.

The major averages finished the session well off their early lows but still in negative territory. The Dow dipped 47.12 points or 0.2 percent to 30,483.13, the Nasdaq slipped 16.22 points or 0.2 percent to 11,053.08 and the S&P 500 edged down 4.90 points or 0.1 percent to 3,759.89.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped by 1.1 percent, the UK’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures tumbled on Wednesday amid concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to slowing global growth following sharp interest rate hikes by central banks. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $3.33 or 3 percent at $106.19 a barrel, the lowest settlement in six weeks.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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