Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Wednesday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders are digesting US Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. They also look ahead to the report on US consumer price inflation in the month of June on Thursday for further clues on interest rates. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday.

Powell told the committee more good data would strengthen the central bank’s confidence inflation is moving sustainably toward its 2 percent target and lead to a potential interest rate cut. Powell said, “Reducing policy restraint too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

Australian shares are trading modestly lower on Wednesday, reversing the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling to remain a tad above the 7,800 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with weakness across most sectors led by mining and energy stocks amid tumbling commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 25.60 points or 0.33 percent to 7,804.10, after hitting a low of 7,829.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 28.80 points or 0.36 percent to 8,046.40. Australian stocks ended significantly higher on Tuesday.

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

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing more than 1 percent and Origin Energy is declining 1.5 percent, while Santos and Woodside Energy are edging down 0.4 percent each.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is edging down 0.3 percent, Zip is declining more than 3 percent, Xero is down almost 1 percent and WiseTech Global is losing more than 1 percent. Appen is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are losing almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank is edging down 0.3 percent. ANZ Banking is edging up 0.1 percent.

Among gold miners, Resolute Mining, Gold Road Resources and Evolution Mining are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while Newmont is losing almost 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.4 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.673 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher on Wednesday after opening in the red, extending the gains in the previous session, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight. The Nikkei 225 is moving above the 41,600 level, with gains in some index heavyweights and financial stocks partially offset by weakness in technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 41,635.53, up 55.36 points or 0.13 percent, after touching a high of 41,740.96 earlier. Japanese stocks ended sharply higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is also adding almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.4 percent, while Toyota is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are edging down 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Screen Holdings is losing more than 1 percent.

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

Among the major exporters, Canon and Panasonic are edging down 0.3 to 0.4 percent each, while Sony is gaining more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 1 percent.

Among other major gainers, Mitsubishi Motors is soaring almost 9 percent, Sapporo Holdings is surging almost 7 percent, MS&AD Insurance is gaining almost 5 percent and Tokio Marine is adding more than 4 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, Suzuki Motor and Recruit Holdings are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, GS Yuasa is losing more than 4 percent, while Lasertec and Ebara are declining almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-161 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.9 percent each, while New Zealand, China, South Korea and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 0.7 percent each.

On the Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Tuesday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually ending the day narrowly mixed.

Despite the choppy trading, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 once again reached new record closing highs. While the Dow edged down 52.82 points or 0.1 percent to 39,291.97, the Nasdaq inched up 25.55 points or 0.1 percent to 18,429.29 and the S&P 500 crept up 4.13 points or 0.1 percent to 5,576.98.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.6 percent, the German DAX Index slumped by 1.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices fell on Tuesday, extending losses to a third straight session, amid concerns about the outlook for demand, and on reports that Hurricane Beryl did not cause any big damage to refineries and ports along the Gulf coast. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended down $0.92 or at $81.41 a barrel.

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RTT Staff Writer
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