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Asian Markets Track Global Markets Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, after data showing a bigger than expected increase in U.S. consumer price inflation in January reduced the possibility of a rate cut by the US Fed anytime soon. Traders have pushed back their expectations for rate cuts from March to May or June. Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

The CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating just an 8.5 percent chance of a quarter point rate cut in March, while the chances of a quarter point rate cut in early May has fallen to 33.5 percent.

Australian shares are trading significantly lower on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling to near the 7,500 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with weakness across most sectors led by mining, financial and technology stocks.

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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 77.60 points or 1.02 percent to 7,526.00, after hitting a low of 7,489.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 79.00 points or 1.01 percent to 7,768.80. Australian stocks ended modestly lower on Tuesday.

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

Oil stocks are lower. Santos and Woodside Energy are edging down 0.1 to 0.5 percent each, while Origin Energy is losing almost 1 percent and Beach energy is declining more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 5 percent, Xero is declining almost 2 percent and WiseTech Global is down more than 1 percent, while Appen is advancing almost 2 percent and Zip is adding more than 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and Westpac is losing almost 2 percent each, while National Australia Bank is slipping more than 2 percent. Commonwealth Bank is declining almost 3 percent after its cash profits fell 3 percent in the first half as profit margins continued to suffer, but it will still pay a $2.15 dividend.

Among gold miners, Newmont and Northern Star Resources are losing more than 3 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is declining almost 3 percent, Resolute Mining is slipping almost 4 percent and Evolution Mining is down almost 1 percent.

In other news, shares in AMP are surging almost 8 percent after the financial giant pledged to return a further $295 million through future dividends or buying back shares on-market.

Shares in GrainCorp plunged almost 13 percent after the commodity trading company said it expects underlying profit to more than halve in FY24 from last year.

Shares in Downer EDI are soaring 14 percent after the construction company said it expected stronger profit margins in the second half of the year.

Shares in IDP Education rallied over 11 percent after it posted a 23 percent net-profit growth and 15 percent increase to its revenue in the first half.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.646 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Wednesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous three sessions, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight. The Nikkei 225 is retreating from 34-year highs and falling to near the 37,700 level, with losses in index heavyweights and exporters partially offset by gains in technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 37,646.95, down 317.02 points or 0.84 percent, after hitting a low of 37,627.05 earlier. Japanese stocks ended sharply higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 2 percent and Toyota is also down more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is edging up 0.5 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding almost 1 percent and Screen Holdings is gaining more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging down 0.1 to 0.4 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.3 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony, Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are losing almost 2 percent each, while Panasonic is declining more than 3 percent.

Among other major losers, Mercari is plummeting 11.5 percent, Shiseido is plunging almost 6 percent and SMC is sliding almost 5 percent, while Dowa Holdings and Mazda Motor are losing more than 4 percent each. Hitachi Zosen, Tokai Carbon, Pacific Metals, Nikon, Nippon Paper Industries, Asahi Group, Japan Tobacco, Nippon Steel and Taiyo Yuden are all declining almost 4 percent each, while Yamaha is down more than 3 percent.

Conversely, Citizen Watch is surging almost 6 percent, Sapporo Holdings is advancing more than 5 percent and Idemitsu Kosan is gaining almost 5 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 150 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia are lower by between 1.0 and 1.3 percent each, while Malaysia is down 0.4 percent. Taiwan and China remain closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

On the Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower during trading on Tuesday, with the major averages all showing significant moves to the downside after ending Monday’s trading narrowly mixed. The Dow pulled back well off yesterday’s record closing highs.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but still posted steep losses on the day. The Dow tumbled 524.63 points or 1.4 percent to 38,272.75, the Nasdaq plunged 286.95 points or 1.8 percent to 15,655.60 and the S&P 500 slumped 68.67 points or 1.4 percent to 4,953.17.

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

Crude oil prices climbed higher Tuesday amid concerns about supply due to the ongoing tensions in the Middle East. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March rose $0.95 or 1.25 percent at $77.87 a barrel, up for a seventh straight session.

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