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Asian Markets Trade Mixed

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Monday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, as robust producer price inflation data raised concerns that the US Fed may not consider lowering interest rate anytime soon. Gains come from the Chinese market which reopened after long lunar new-year holidays. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

The Australian stock market is currently trading slightly lower on Monday, recouping some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying well below the 7,700.00 level, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, with losses in gold miners, technology and energy nearly offset by gains in iron ore miners and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 4.10 points or 0.05 percent to 7,654.20, after touching a high of 7,683.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 3.40 points or 0.04 percent to 7,902.20. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Friday.

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Among the major miners, Rio Tinto and Mineral Resources are gaining almost 2 percent each, while BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are adding more than 1 percent each.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy, Woodside Energy, Santos and Origin Energy are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is declining more than 5 percent, Xero is losing more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is edging down 0.3 percent, while Appen is surging almost 5 percent and Zip is adding more than 1 percent.

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

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent, Westpac is adding more than 2 percent and ANZ Banking Bank is edging up 0.3 percent, while National Australia Bank is edging down 0.2 percent.

In other news, shares in A2 Milk are skyrocketing almost 16 percent after it reported a slight increase in its revenue and profit in the first half of FY24, attributing the rise to growth in its Chinese market products

Shares in Reliance Worldwide are soaring more than 9 percent after the plumbing supplies group reported a drop in profits, but unveiled a new share buyback to help meet its shareholder payout plans.

Shares in Lendlease are plummeting more than 15 percent after it reported a net loss of $136 million in the first half of FY24.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.654 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is trading modestly lower on Monday, recouping some of the losses in the previous session. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is falling below the 38,400 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street cues on Friday, dragged by weakness in exporters and technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 38,365.59, down 121.65 points or 0.32 percent, after hitting a low of 38,281.70 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.5 percent, while Toyota is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing more than 3 percent, Advantest is declining more than 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is down more than 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is advancing more than 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.1 percent.

The major exporters are higher. Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Sony are edging down 0.2 percent each. Canon is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among other major losers, Nintendo is losing almost 6 percent, Ebara is declining more than 4 percent and Recruit Holdings is down almost 4 percent.

Conversely, Aozora Bank is surging almost 5 percent and Obayashi is gaining more than 4 percent, while T&D Holdings, Shimizu and Nippon Paper Industries are adding almost 4 percent each. Mitsubishi and Takashimaya are advancing more than 4 percent each, while Chiba, Isetan Mitsukoshi, Sumitomo Pharma, JGC Holdings, Oriental Land, Mitsui & Co., Keisei Electric Railway and Mercari are all up almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, core machine orders in Japan were up a seasonally adjusted 2.7 percent on month in December, the Cabinet Office said on Monday – coming in at 838.8 billion yen. That was in line with expectations following the 4.9 percent contraction in November.

On a yearly basis, core machine orders sank 0.7 percent – beating forecasts for a decline of 1.0 percent after dropping 5.0 percent in the previous month. For the fourth quarter of 2023, orders were down 1.0 percent on quarter and 2.5 percent on year. For the first quarter of 2024, orders are seen higher by 4.6 percent on quarter and lower by 0.2 percent on year.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong and New Zealand are down 1.0 and 0.4 percent, respectively. China and South Korea are up 0.9 and 0.7 percent, respectively. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks settled lower on Friday as robust producer price inflation data raised concerns that Federal Reserve may not consider lowering interest rate anytime soon.

The major averages all ended weak, with the downside of the tech-laden Nasdaq more pronounced. The Dow ended with a loss of 145.13 points or 0.37 percent at 38,627.99,the S&P 500 ended down 21.16 points or 0.48 percent at 5,005.57 and the Nasdaq settled at 15,775.65, losing 130.52 points or 0.82 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 surged 1.5 percent, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.42 percent and 0.32 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices climbed higher on Friday, lifting the most active WTI Crude futures to a 11-week high, on concerns about potential supply disruptions in the Middle East. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $1.16 at $79.19 a barrel.

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