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Asian Markets Trade Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Monday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders remain cautious ahead the release of inflation data from the US, Japan and Europe which could provide more clarity on the outlook for global interest rate moves. Some traders are also booking profits after the recent gains in the markets. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

The Fed is still widely expected to eventually begin lowering rates even if the first rate cut won’t come as soon as investors had previously hoped.

The Australian stock market is currently trading slightly lower on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,600.00 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with losses in energy stocks nearly offset by gains in miners, financial and technology stocks.

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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 6.50 points or 0.09 percent to 7,637.10, after touching a high of 7,683.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 7.00 points or 0.09 percent to 7,892.20. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are edging up 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while Mineral Resources is gaining almost 2 percent. BHP Group is edging down 0.4 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing almost 1 percent, Origin Energy is edging down 0.3 percent, Santos is declining more than 4 percent and Woodside Energy is down more than 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero is gaining almost 2 percent, Zip is advancing almost 5 percent, WiseTech Global is adding almost 1 percent and Afterpay owner Block is up more than 1 percent, while Appen is declining almost 6 percent.

Gold miners are higher. Gold Road Resources is gaining almost 3 percent, Northern Star Resources is adding more than 1 percent, Evolution Mining is up 1.5 percent and Newmont is rising more than 2 percent. Resolute Mining is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining more than 1 percent, while Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.1 percent each. ANZ Banking is flat.

In other news, shares in Kogan are soaring 20 percent after the online retailer reinstated its dividend after returning to profitability in the December half, although revenue slipped.

Shares in TPG Telecom are tumbling 8 perent after its annual net profit shrunk as the company’s expenses rose.

Shares in Alumina Ltd. are surging 7 percent after it received a non-binding, indicative and conditional proposal from Alcoa to acquire the company.

Share in Adairs are rallying 11 percent after the bedding and furniture group reported that its first half earnings before interest, tax and amortisation beat analyst expectations.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.655 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher in post-holiday trade on Monday, extending the gains in the previous session. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is moving above the 39,300 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with gains in index heavyweights and financial stocks partially offset by weakness in technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 39,309.80, up 211.12 points or 0.54 percent, after touching all-time record high of 39,388.08 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Thursday ahead of the holiday on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.1 percent and Toyota is gaining almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing 2.5 percent and Tokyo Electron is down almost 1 percent, while Advantest is edging up 0.2 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is advancing 1.5 percent and Mizuho Financial is adding almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Canon is edging up 0.3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 4 percent and Panasonic is gaining more than 1 percent, while Sony is losing almost 2 percent.

Among other major gainers, Sumco is surging almost 6 percent, Marubeni is gaining more than 5 percent and Chugai Pharmaceutical is adding almost 5 percent, while Toto and Hitachi Zosen are advancing more than 4 percent each. M3, Resonac Holdings, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric are up almost 4 percent each, while NEC, Daiichi Sankyo, Fukuoka Financial, Rakuten Group and GS Yuasa are rising more than 3 percent each. Mitsui & Co. is up almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Lasertec is losing almost 3 percent.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Indonesia are lower by between 0.2 and 0.9 percent each. Malaysia and Taiwan are up 0.1 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks extended Thursday’s substantial rally in early trading on Friday but turned in a relatively lackluster performance over the remainder of the trading session. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing narrowly mixed. While the Nasdaq dipped 44.80 points or 0.3 percent to 15,996.82, the Dow rose 62.42 points or 0.2 percent to 39,131.53 and the S&P 500 inch up 1.77 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 5,088.80.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower on Friday as concerns about the outlook for demand and the recent data showing a jump in U.S. crude inventories weighed on prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April dropped $2.12 or 2.65 percent at $76.49 a barrel.

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