Asian Markets Trade Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Monday, despite the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders cautiously await key US inflation data that includes reports on consumer and producer prices in June later in the week. The data will provide more clues on the direction the US Fed will take on interest rates. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday.

The Australian stock market is currently trading notably lower on Monday, adding to the slight losses in the previous session, despite the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is falling below the 7,800.00 level, with weakness is iron ore miners, energy and financial stocks partially offset by gains in gold miners and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 31.20 points or 0.40 percent to 7,791.10, after hitting a low of 7,784.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 30.00 points or 0.37 percent to 8,040.10. Australian stocks closed slightly lower on Friday.

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

Oil stocks are weak. Beach energy is declining almost 2 percent, Woodside Energy is losing almost 1 percent, Santos is down more than 1 percent and Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

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

Gold miners are mostly higher. Newmont and Gold Road Resources are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is adding 2.5 percent, Resolute Mining is advancing almost 4 percent and Northern Star Resources is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent and National Australia Bank is edging down 0.4 percent, while ANZ Banking is edging up 0.4 percent Westpac is flat.

In other news, shares in Core Lithium are soaring more than 15 percent after the lithium miner reported better-than-expected production, despite an ongoing downturn in the lithium market.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.675 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Monday, reversing the slight losses in the previous session. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is moving to a tad below the 41,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with gains in some index heavyweights and exporter stocks partially offset by weakness in financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 40,999.80, up 87.43 or 0.21 percent, after hitting a low of 40,785.71 and a high of 40,956.31 earlier. Japanese shares ended slightly lower on Friday.

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

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is edging up 0.1 percent, while Advantest is edging down 0.5 percent and Tokyo Electron is losing almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.1 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is down more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Sony and Canon are edging up 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 1 percent. Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent.

Among other major losers, Hitachi Zosen is declining almost 4 percent, while Sumitomo Pharma, Isetan Mitsukoshi and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are losing more than 3 percent each. MS&AD Insurance, Yaskawa Electricand Omron are down almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, SMC is gaining almost 3 percent.

In economic news, Japan posted a current account surplus of 2.849 trillion yen in May, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of 2.07 trillion yen following the 2.52 trillion yen surplus in April.

Imports were up 9.3 percent on year to 9.241 trillion yen, while exports jumped 12.1 percent to 8.132 trillion yen for a trade deficit of 1.107 trillion yen. The capital account saw a deficit of 11.7 billion yen, while the financial account had a surplus of 1.258 trillion yen.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 160 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is down 1.3 percent, while New Zealand, China, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia are lower by between 0.2 and 0.7 percent each. Taiwan is bucking the trend and is up 1.5 percent. Malaysia is closed for the Islamic New Year.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, with the major averages all moving to the upside after turning in a mixed performance early in the session. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed higher for the fourth straight session, once again reaching new record closing highs.

The major averages reached new highs for the session going into the close of trading. The Nasdaq jumped 164.46 points or 0.9 percent to 18,352.76, the S&P 500 climbed 30.17 points or 0.5 percent to 5,567.19 and the Dow rose 67.87 points or 0.2 percent to 39,375.87.

Meanwhile, the major European markets finished the day mixed. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices slipped on Friday, but still posted their fourth straight weekly gain amid optimism about the outlook for demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended down by $0.72 or 0.86 percent at $83.16 a barrel. WTI crude futures gained about 2 percent in the week.

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RTT Staff Writer
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