Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as most regional markets reopened after a holiday break with traders reacting to a slew of mixed economic data, primarily from China, Australia and Japan. Soft U.S. inflation data on Friday also boosted hopes that the US Fed could cut interest rates in June. Asian markets closed mixed on Monday.

Giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, the Australian stock market is slightly lower on Tuesday, following the mostly negative cues from Wall Street overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is staying a tad below the 7,900 level, with losses in technology stocks almost offset by gains in mining and energy stocks amid a spike in commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 7.00 points or 0.09 percent to 7,889.90, after touching an all-time high of 7,910.50 and a low of 7,867.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 7.90 points or 0.10 percent to 8,145.80. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Thursday, prior to the holidays on Monday and Tuesday.

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Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining more than 1 percent, BHP Group is adding almost 2 percent and Mineral Resources is edging up 0.1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos is gaining almost 1 percent, Woodside Energy is up almost 1 percent and Beach energy is adding more than 3 percent, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is losing almost 1 percent, Zip is slipping almost 6 percent, Afterpay owner Block is declining more than 2 percent and Xero is edging down 0.4 percent, while Appen is gaining almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 3 percent, Newmont is adding almost 5 percent, Northern Star resources is advancing more than 2 percent, Resolute Mining is up almost 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is rising almost 3 percent.

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

In other news, shares in Austal are jumping 11 percent after confirming it received $2.825 cash per Austal share takeover offer from South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha Ocean.

Shares in Orora are tumbling 13 percent after the bottlemaker trimmed its FY24 earnings expectations as a weak market for its products continues to hamper sales.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to contract in March, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Judo Bank revealed on Tuesday with a manufacturing PMI score of 47.3. That’s down from 47.8 in February, and it moved further beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Members of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Monetary Policy Board felt that the country’s economic recovery was tracking mostly as expected, minutes from the central bank’s March 19 policy meeting revealed on Tuesday.

At the meeting, the RBA kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.35 percent for the third straight meeting. The policy board added that the economic outlook and the interest rate path are uncertain as inflation remains high, although it is moderating.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.650 on Tuesday.

Recouping some of the losses in the previous session, the Japanese stock market is slightly higher on Tuesday, with the Nikkei 225 moving well above the 39,800 level, despite the mostly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains across most sectors led by index heavyweights and technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 39,853.20, up 50.11 points or 0.13 percent, after touching a high of 40,151.05 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply lower on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is also edging up 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is also adding almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and are gaining almost 1 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding almost 3 percent and Screen Holdings is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are gaining almost 1 percent each.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Canon and Sony are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is adding more than 1 percent. Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Sumco is gaining almost 4 percent, while Renesas Electronics, Ebara and Resonac Holdings are adding more than 3 percent each. Sumitomo Metal Mining, Nippon Steel, MS&AD Insurance Group, Tokio Marine and Toyota Tsusho are advancing almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Odakyu Electric Railway is losing more than 3 percent and Rakuten Group is declining almost 3 percent.

In economic news, the monetary base in Japan was up 1.6 percent on year in March, the Bank of Japan said on Tuesday – coming in at 666.240 trillion yen. That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 2.5 percent and down from the upwardly revised 2.4 percent gain in February (originally 2.1 percent). The seasonally adjusted monetary base rose 3.6 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 151 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are up 2.4 and 1.0 percent, respectively. Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.3 percent each. New Zealand, China and Indonesia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.3 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day on Monday after failing to sustain an early move to the upside. The Dow and the S&P 500 gave back ground after ending last Thursday’s trading at record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to end the day in positive territory.

While the Nasdaq inched up 17.37 points or 0.1 percent to 16,396.83, the Dow slid 240.52 points or 0.6 percent to 39,566.85 and the S&P 500 dipped 10.58 points or 0.2 percent to 5,243.77.

Meanwhile, the major European markets were all closed on the day for Easter Monday.

Crude oil prices moved higher Monday amid concerns about a possible drop in supplies following reports of an Israeli strike near the Iranian embassy in Damascus. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $0.54 or 0.65 percent at $83.71 a barrel.

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