Asian Markets Track Global Markets Lower


Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Thursday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, as a stronger U.S. dollar weighed on crude oil prices and on most of its major Asian rivals. Traders are also cautious ahead of release of the crucial U.S. inflation data later in the day, which could have a significant impact on the outlook for interest rate hikes. Asian Markets closed mixed on Wednesday.

Economists expect the inflation data to show a modest slowdown in the annual rate of consumer price growth, which could add to optimism about a slowdown in the pace of rate hikes.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Thursday, snapping a four-session winning streak, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,000 mark, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with the decline led by technology, resources and energy stocks amid the drop in commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 23.30 points or 0.33 percent to 6,976.00, after hitting a low of 6,954.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 31.70 points or 0.44 percent to 7,155.70. Australian stocks ended notably higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are losing almost 2 percent each, while Rio Tinto and OZ Minerals are declining almost 1 percent each. Mineral Resources is edging down 0.2 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing almost 3 percent, Woodside Energy is declining almost 2 percent and Santos is down more than 1 percent. Origin Energy is skyrocketing more than 34 percent after it backed an A$18.4 billion non-binding takeover bid from a consortium led by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is plunging almost 7 percent, WiseTech Global is losing almost 1 percent, Zip is declining almost 2 percent and Appen is down more than 2 percent. Xero is plummeting more than 10 percent after reporting a wider loss for the first half of fiscal 2023 and replacing its CEO.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is losing almost 2 percent, while Westpac ANZ Banking are edging down 0.2 to 0.5 percent each. Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are losing more than 1 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.5 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing almost 2 percent. Resolute Mining is flat.

In other news, shares in Computershare are surging more than 6 percent after the IT firm boosted its earnings per share growth guidance to around 90 percent for the 2023 financial year.

Shares in Perpetual Ltd. are surging more than 7 percent after it rejected a sweetened A$1.85 billion acquisition offer from EQT-owned Barings Private Equity Asia (BPEA) and Regal Partners.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.642 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower in choppy trading on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 27,400 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with exporters, technology and financial stocks leading the declines.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,391.00, down 325.43 points or 1.17 percent, after hitting a low of 27,370.62 earlier. Japanese stocks closed notably lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is losing more than 1 percent and Honda is declining almost 5 percent, despite reporting strong quarterly results, as chip shortages and COVID disruptions continued to impact vehicle production.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Advantest is edging up 0.4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are losing almost 1 percent each, while Panasonic is down more than 1 percent and Sony is declining almost 2 percent.

Among the other major losers, Casio Computer is plunging more than 7 percent, while Yokohama Rubber and Kobe Steel are sliding almost 7 percent each. Kubota is slipping almost 6 percent, Kuraray is losing 4.5 percent, Rakuten is declining more than 4 percent and Idemitsu Kosan is losing almost 4 percent, while Bridgestone and Seiko Epson are down more than 3 percent each. NTT Data, Suzuki Motor, Murata Manufacturing and Mitsui Fudosan are falling almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Fujikura is skyrocketing more than 16 percent and Nexon is gaining almost 5 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 146 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is plunging 2.3 percent and Taiwan is down 1.2 percent, while New Zealand, China, South Korea and Indonesia are lower by 0.3 to 1.0 percent each. Malaysia and Singapore are up 0.2 and 0.3 percent, respectively.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower during trading on Wednesday, giving back ground after closing high for three straight sessions. The major averages all showed significant moves to the downside, with the Dow pulling back off its best closing level in well over two months.

The major averages finished the session just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow tumbled 646.89 points or 2.0 percent to 32,513.94, the Nasdaq plunged 263.02 points or 2.5 percent to 10,353.17 and the S&P 500 dove by 79.54 points or 2.1 percent to 3,748.57.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both dipped by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices tumbled Wednesday, weighed down by a jump in crude stockpiles, concerns about the outlook for energy demand and a stronger U.S. dollar. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended lower by $3.08 or 3.5 percent at $85.83 a barrel, falling for the third consecutive session.

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