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Asian Markets Track Wall Street Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Tuesday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders largely stayed cautious and seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of some key economic data, including a report on US consumer price inflation said to be preferred by the US Fed. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Monday.

The inflation data could have a notable impact on the outlook for interest rates, as Fed officials have said they need greater confidence inflation is slowing before cutting rates.

Wiping off the slight gains in the previous session, the Australian stock market is modestly lower on Tuesday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is staying above the 7,600 level, with weakness across most sectors led by technology and mining stocks.

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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 15.70 points or 0.21 percent to 7,637.10, after hitting a low of 7,610.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 14.60 points or 0.19 percent to 7,893.50. Australian stocks closed slightly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is losing almost 2 percent, Rio Tinto is down more than 1 percent, BHP Group is declining almost 1 percent and Mineral Resources is edging down 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed. Santos is edging up 0.1 percent and Woodside Energy is adding almost 1 percent, while Origin Energy and Beach energy are losing more than 1 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Zip is plunging more than 12 percent, Afterpay owner Block is sliding more than 5 percent and Xero is edging down 0.1 percent, while WiseTech Global is gaining more than 1 percent and Appen is surging more than 8 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Evolution Mining is losing almost 2 percent, Northern Star resources is down almost 3 percent, Resolute Mining is sliding almost 4 percent, Gold Road Resources is slipping more than 1 percent and Newmont is declining more than 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while Westpac is edging down 0.2 percent.

In other news, shares in Alumina are slipping more than 7 percent after takeover target swung to a net loss for the full year and withheld a final dividend.

Shares in Reece Group are jumping more than 12 percent after reporting a strong profit for the first half and declaring an interim dividend.

In economic news, Overall consumer prices in Japan were up 2.2 percent on year in January, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Tuesday. That was in line with forecasts and down from 2.6 percent in December. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, inflation rose 0.1 percent – matching expectations and unchanged from the December reading.

Core consumer prices, which exclude the volatile costs of food, were up 2.0 percent on year. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.9 percent and was down from 2.3 percent in the previous month.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.653 on Tuesday.

Adding to the losses in the previous session, the Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Tuesday after opening in the green, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 39,200 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with traders reacting to domestic data that showed inflation in Japan dropping to the lowest level since March 2022.

This follows recent data showing Japan’s economy fell into a technical recession in the fourth quarter.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 39,173.92, down 59.79 points or 0.15 percent, after touching fresh all-time high of 39,426.29 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly lower on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.5 percent, while Toyota is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is edging down 0.4 percen, while Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 1 percent and Screen Holdings is advancing more than 2 percent.

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

The major exporters are mostly higher. Panasonic is gaining almost 3 percent, Canon is adding more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is advancing almost 2 percent, while Sony is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Hitachi Zosen is gaining almost 6 percent, while Fukuoka Financial and Otsuka Holdings are adding more than 4 percent each. Osaka Gas and Kobe Steel are advancing almost 4 percent each, while JFE Holdings, Daiwa Securities, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Tokyo Gas and Nippon Steel are rising more than 3 percent each. Nomura Holdings, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Concordia Financial, Shizuoka Financial and IHI are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Rakuten Group is losing more than 3 percent, while Sumitomo Realty & Development and Mercari are declining almost 3 percent each.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 1.0 percent each, while China and Malaysia are up 0.3 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks ended on a negative note on Monday, and the major averages turned weak after a slightly positive start, as investors largely stayed cautious ahead of some key economic data, including a report on consumption expenditure.

Among the major averages, the Dow ended lower by 62.30 points or 0.16 percent at 39,069.23. The S&P 500 settled with a loss of 19.27 points or 0.38 percent at 5,069.53. The Nasdaq, which spent much of the day’s session in positive territory despite a choppy ride, ended down 20.57 points or 0.13 percent at 15,976.25.

The major European markets also saw weakness on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 drifted down 0.29 percent, and France’s CAC 40 settled lower by 0.46 percent, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.02 percent.

Crude oil prices pared early losses and climbed higher on Monday as continued attacks by Houthi militants in the Red Sea route raised concerns about supply. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended higher by $1.09 or 1.4 percent at $77.58 a barrel.

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