Asian Markets A Sea Of Red

Asian stock markets are a sea of red on Wednesday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, as strong US economic data sent Treasury yields higher and renewed concerns over the outlook for interest rates. Recent US data showed better than expected increases in job openings, manufacturing and factory orders in the month of February. Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

The data raised questions about whether the US Fed will lower interest rates even in June.

While CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently still indicating 56.3 percent chance the Fed will cut rates by a quarter point in June, that is down from 63.8 percent a week ago.

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Australian shares are trading sharply lower on Wednesday, extending the slight losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,800 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with losses in technology and financial stocks amid a spike in treasury yields.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 102.00 points or 1.29 percent to 7,785.90, after hitting a low of 7,778.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 108.70 points or 1.33 percent to 8,037.10. Australian stocks ended slightly lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, Mineral Resources is losing almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.3 percent, while BHP Group and Rio Tinto are edging up 0.3 percent each.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos is gaining more than 1 percent, Woodside Energy is adding almost 1 percent, Origin Energy is edging up 0.4 percent and Beach energy is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 3 percent, Appen is declining almost 2 percent, Xero is slipping almost 4 percent and WiseTech Global is sliding more than 5 percent, while Zip is gaining almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are losing more than 1 percent each, while Westpac is down almost 1 percent and National Australia Bank is declining almost 2 percent.

Among gold miners, Newmont and Resolute Mining are edging up 0.5 percent each, while Evolution Mining is adding almost 1 percent. Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are losing almost 1 percent each.

In other news, shares in Westgold Resources are tumbling 14 percent after the gold miner revised its full year financial year 2024 production guidance.

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

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Wednesday, giving up the slight gains in the previous session, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight. The Nikkei 225 is falling well below the 39,500 level, with losses in index heavyweights and technology stocks amid a spike in treasury yields.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 39,428.58, down 410.33 points or 1.03 percent, after hitting a low of 39,217.04 earlier. Japanese stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is declining almost 4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.2 percent and Toyota is losing almost 1 percent.

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

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.3 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding more than 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony, Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are edging down 0.1 to 0.4 percent each, while Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among other major losers, Shimizu is losing almost 4 percent and Dentsu Group is down more than 3 percent, while Nintendo, Eisai and Ebara are declining almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Tokyo Gas is advancing more than 4 percent, while Japan Steel Works and DIC are gaining almost 4 percent each. Kansai Electric Power and Inpex are adding more than 3 percent each, while Chubu Electric Power and Rakuten Group are up almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the service sector in Japan continued to expand in March, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Wednesday with a service PMI score of 54.1. That’s up from 52.9 and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia are all lower by between 0.3 and 1.4 percent each.

On the Wall Street, stocks continue to see considerable weakness throughout the trading day on Tuesday after moving sharply lower early in the session. The Dow and the S&P 500 added to Monday’s losses, pulling back further off the record closing highs set last Thursday.

The major averages ended the session off their worst levels of the day but still firmly in the red. The Dow tumbled 396.61 points or 1.0 percent to 39,170.24, the Nasdaq slumped 156.38 points or 1.0 percent to 16,240.45 and the S&P 500 slid 37.96 points or 0.7 percent to 5,205.81.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices hit a five-month high on Tuesday amid rising demand following solid manufacturing activity data from the U.S. and China. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $1.44 or 1.72 percent at $85.15 a barrel, the highest settlement since last October.

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