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Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Thursday, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with the markets advancing for the first time in a week as currencies in the region strengthen against the US dollar. Meanwhile, the upside is limited amid ongoing concerns about the outlook for interest rates following remarks by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Asian Markets closed mixed on Wednesday.

Powell suggested rates are likely to remain higher for longer amid a “lack of progress” toward reaching the central bank’s inflation goal. The Fed chief’s remarks came as recent data showing sticky inflation along with continued economic strength have led to reduced expectations of a rate cut in June.

The Australian market is notably higher on Thursday, recouping some of the losses in the previous five sessions, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is staying above the 7,600 level, with gains across most sectors led by iron ore miners and technology stocks.

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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 50.80 points or 0.67 percent to 7,656.40, after touching a day’s high of 7,656.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 51.50 points or 0.66 percent to 7,912.50. Australian stocks ended slightly lower on Wednesday.

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

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Energy, Santos, Beach energy and Origin Energy are edging up 0.1 to 0.4 percent each.

In the tech space, Appen is gaining 1.5 percent, Afterpay owner Block is edging up 0.3 percent, WiseTech Global is adding almost 1 percent, Xero is advancing almost 2 percent and Zip is up more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Westpac is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is losing more than 3 percent, Resolute Mining is declining more than 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is slipping more than 1 percent, while Newmont is gaining almost 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.646 on Thursday.

Recouping some of the losses in the previous three sessions, the Japanese market is modestly higher on Thursday, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight. The Nikkei 225 is moving well above the 38,000 mark, with gains in technology and financial stocks partially by losses in index heavyweights.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at the day’s high of 38,090.87, up 129.07 points or 0.34 percent, after hitting a low of 37,644.91 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is flat. Among automakers, Toyota is edging down 0.1 percent and Honda is also edging down 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 2 percent and Screen Holdings is adding almost 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is losing more than 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.2 percent, Mizuho Financial is gaining more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is advancing 1.5 percent.

Among the major exporters, Canon is edging up 0.3 percent, Sony is gaining almost 1 percent and Panasonic is adding almost 2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.4 percent.

Among other major losers, FUJIFILM is losing more than 4 percent, while Inpex and IHI are declining more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Sumitomo Pharma is gaining almost 4 percent and Japan Airlines is adding almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 154 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.6 percent, while China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 1.0 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.8 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday before eventually ending the day mostly lower. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 extended their losing streaks to four days, falling to their lowest closing levels in nearly two months.

The major averages all finished the day red, although the Dow posted a relatively modest loss, edging down 45.66 points or 0.1 percent to 37,753.31. The S&P 500 slid 29.20 points or 0.6 percent to 5,022.21 and the Nasdaq tumbled 181.88 points or 1.2 percent to 15,683.37.

Meanwhile, the major European markets gave back ground after an early rally but still closed mostly higher. While the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index close just above the unchanged line.

Crude oil prices tumbled on Wednesday, adding to modest losses in the two previous sessions after data showed a surge in U.S. crude oil inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery plunged $2.67 or 3.1 percent to $82.69 a barrel.

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