Asian Markets Mostly Lower On Wall Street Cues


Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Thursday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, on continuing concerns over the outlook for interest rates and a global economic slowdown. The rising geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing in recent days are also weighing on the markets. Asian Markets closed mixed on Wednesday.

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer described the state of bilateral relations as “tense,” adding the Biden administration is looking at other actions it can take after shooting down what it called a Chinese surveillance balloon over the weekend. In addition, it was reported that China has declined a U.S. request for a phone call between defense chiefs.

The Australian stock market is slightly lower on Thursday, giving up some of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,500 levels, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, dragged by weakness in technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 35.50 points or 0.47 percent to 7,494.60, after hitting a low of 7,492.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 39.40 points or 0.51 percent to 7,701.10. Australian stocks ended modestly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto and OZ Minerals are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Mineral Resources is losing more than 1 percent. Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 1 percent and BHP Group is flat.

Oil stocks are mixed. Beach energy is edging up 0.1 percent, Origin Energy is losing more than 2 percent, and Woodside Energy is edging up 0.4 percent. Santos is flat.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block and Xero are losing almost 3 percent each, while Zip is sliding 5.5 percent, Appen is down more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is declining almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while ANZ Banking is adding almost 1 percent.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is losing almost 2 percent, Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.2 percent and Evolution Mining is slipping almost 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is gaining almost 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.1 percent.

In other news, shares in AGL Energy are tumbling almost 10 percent after the power retailer posting a loss of more than $1.1 billion for the first half. It also slashed the top range of its full-year earnings forecasts.

In economic news, the total number of building permits issued in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 18.5 percent on month in in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday – coming in at 16,556. That was in line with expectations following the 8.8 percent drop in November. On a yearly basis, overall permits lost 3.8 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.695 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is notably lower on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 27,500 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, draged by weakness in some index heavyweights and technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,479.86, down 126.60 points or 0.46 percent, after hitting a low of 27,424.69 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is flat. Among automakers, Toyota is flat and Honda is edging down 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are losing more than 2 percent each, while Advantest is down 1.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is gaining almost 1 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are edging up 0.1 to 0.2 percent each. Sony is losing almost 1 percent.

There are no other major losers.

Conversely, Pacific Metals is surging almost 6 percent, Teijin is gaining more than 5 percent and Sumitomo Metal Mining is adding 4.5 percent, while Konami Group, AGC, Konica Minolta amd Toray Industries are up more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 131 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each, while Hong Kong and China are up 0.4 and 0.7 percent, respectively. South Korea and Indonesia are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower during trading on Wednesday, giving back ground following the rally seen in the previous session. The major averages all moved to the downside on the day, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the pullback.

The major averages finished the session near their worst levels of the day. The Nasdaq tumbled 203.27 points or 1.7 percent to 11,910.52, the S&P 500 slumped 46.14 points or 1.1 percent to 4,117.86 and the Dow slid 207.68 points or 0.6 percent to 33,939.01.

Meanwhile, the major European markets finished the day mixed. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index climbed 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday, extending gains to a third straight session amid hopes of higher demand from China. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $1.33 or 1.7 percent at $78.47 a barrel.

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