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Asian Markets Track Global Markets Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, after the latest batch of US economic data showing a bigger than expected drop in retail sales in the month of January raised the possibility of an interest rate cut as early as June. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.

The US Fed also released a report showing industrial production in the U.S. unexpectedly edged slightly lower in January.

Adding to the gains in the previous session, the Australian stock market is significantly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is staying above the 7,600 level, with gains across most sectors led by mining and energy stocks amid spiking commodity prices.

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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 52.80 points or 0.69 percent to 7,658.50, after touching a high of 7,681.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 53.30 points or 0.68 percent to 7,905.00. Australian markets ended significantly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is adding almost 3 percent, while Fortescue Metals and BHP Group are advancing almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Energy and Beach energy are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Santos is adding almost 1 percent. Origin Energy is losing almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block and WiseTech Global are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Xero is edging up 0.1 percent and Appen is adding 1.5 percent. Zip is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and is gaining almost 1 percent, while National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging up 0.2 to 0.4 percent each.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Gold Road Resources and Newmont are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Evolution Mining, Resolute Mining and Northern Star Resources are adding almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.651 on Friday.

Adding to the gains in the previous session, the Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark Nikkei 225 is moving a tad above the 38,500 level, with gains across most sectors led by some index heavyweights, exporters and financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 38,505.89, up 347.95 points or 0.91 percent, after touching a fresh 34-year high of 38,865.06 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply higher on Thursday.

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

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are edging up 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while Screen Holdings is plunging almost 7 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining more than 1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are adding almost 2 percent each.

Among major exporters, Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is advancing almost 3 percent and Canon is adding more than 2 percent, while Sony is losing more than 2 percent.

Among other major gainers, Resonac Holdings is soaring almost 7 percent, BANDAI NAMCO is surging more than 6 percent and Rakuten Group is gaining almost 6 percent, while T&D Holdings and Idemitsu Kosan are adding almost 5 percent each. Olympus, NEXON and Dai-ichi Life are advancing more than 4 percent each, while NTT Data, Recruit Holdings, Mitsui & Co., Inpex, Keisei Electric Railway and Pacific Metals are rising almost 4 percent each. Mitsubishi Estate is up more than 3 percent.

Conversely, Trend Micro is plummeting almost 15 percent and Sumco is losing more than 5 percent.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.6 percent, while New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.3 and 1.0 percent each. Taiwan is bucking the trend and is down 0.1 percent. China remains closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction early in the session on Thursday but moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day. The major averages extended the significant rebound seen during Wednesday’s session, with the S&P 500 reaching a new record closing high.

The major averages finished the day just off their highs of the session. The Dow jumped 348.85 points or 0.9 percent to 38,773.12, the Nasdaq rose 47.03 points or 0.3 percent to 15,906.17 and the S&P 500 climbed 29.11 points or 0.6 percent to 5,029.73.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index increased by 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures ended higher on Thursday as the dollar weakened after the weak retail sales data raised hopes of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve in June. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March rallied $1.39 or 1.8 percent at $78.03 a barrel.

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