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Asian Markets Trade Mixed In Thin Holiday Trade

Asian stock markets are trading mixed in thin trading on Monday, despite the mostly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with markets in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea closed for public holidays. Concerns over China’s struggling economy and heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East weigh on the markets. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, snapping a three-session winning streak, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,600.00 level, despite the mostly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness in mining stocks amid softer commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 14.60 points or 0.19 percent to 7,630.20, after hitting a low of 7,609.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 9.70 points or 0.12 percent to 7,875.00. Australian stocks closed slightly higher on Friday.

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Among the major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Mineral Resources are losing almost 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy is gaining more than 3 percent, Origin Energy is edging up 0.3 percent and Santos is adding almost 1 percent, while Woodside Energy is declining almost 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero is gaining more than 1 percent, Zip is surging more than 5 percent and WiseTech Global is gaining more than 1 percent, while Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 3 percent. Appen is skyrocketing more than 14 percent after the trouble data services company said it will further slash costs, including closing its Toronto and Bellevue offices in North America after losing a key contract with Google.

Gold miners are mixed. Evolution Mining is edging down 0.3 percent, Newmont is declining more than 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is losing almost 1 percent, while Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are gaining almost 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.3 percent, ANZ Banking is advancing 1.5 percent, Westpac is gaining almost 1 percent and National Australia Bank is adding more than 1 percent.

In other news, shares in CSL are tumbling almost 5 after the healthcare giant abandoned plans to seek regulatory approval for a proposed drug following weak results in the phase-three trial.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.652 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is closed for National Foundation Day holiday on Monday. Japanese shares ended slightly higher on Friday.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand is down 0.8 percent, while Indonesia is up 0.4 percent. China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading session on Friday with technology stocks leading the charge. The major averages extended a recent upward trend, with the S&P 500 closing above 5,000 for the first time ever.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq posted a standout gain, surging 196.95 points or 1.3 percent to 15,990.66 and the S&P 500 also climbed 28.70 points or 0.6 percent to 5,026.61, while the narrower Dow bucked the uptrend and edged down 54.64 points or 0.1 percent to 38,671.69.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all saw modest weakness on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both dipped by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices shook off early weakness Friday to finish modestly higher, due to ongoing tensions in the Middle East. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March rose $0.62 at $76.84 a barrel, gaining for a fifth straight session. WTI crude futures jumped 6 percent in the week.

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