Asian Markets Track Wall Street Higher


Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Thursday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders remain optimism that US lawmakers will eventually reach an agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling. US President Joe Biden reassured his citizens that “America will not default.” Asian Markets closed mixed on Wednesday.

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Thursday, recouping the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,200 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains in mining and energy stocks amid firmer commodity prices. Technology stocks also were strong.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 39.90 points or 0.55 percent to 7,239.10, after touching a high of 7,258.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 40.70 points or 0.55 percent to 7,430.00. Australian stocks ended notably lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are adding more than 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources is advancing almost 3 percent and BHP Group is gaining almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos is gaining more than 1 percent, while Origin Energy and Woodside Energy are edging up 0.4 to 0.5 percent each. Beach energy is plunging more than 7 percent after it announced uncertainty about timing and capital expenditure at the Waitsia project.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 1 percent, while Afterpay owner Block and Zip are adding almost 3 percent each. Appen is losing almost 1 percent. Xero is surging more than 6 percent despite reporting a full-year net loss as its revenues grew 28 percent driven by subscriber growth and improved average revenue per user.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining more than 1 percent, while National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are adding almost 1 percent each.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are losing more than 1 percent each, while Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are down almost 1 percent each. Resolute Mining is gaining more than 1 percent.

In other news, shares in Nufarm are soaring almost 13 percent after the chemicals company reported a underlying net profit for the half year that increased 7 parisercent from last year.

Shares in Aristocrat Leisure are plunging almost 5 percent despite the gambling company reporting a half-year profit and lifted its dividend.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.665 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous five sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 30,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains across most sectors, led by technology and financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 30,533.64, up 440.05 points or 1.46 percent, after touching a high of 30,667.13 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing 1.5 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is gaining almost 1 percent and Honda is adding more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining more than 2 percent, Tokyo Electron is surging more than 4 percent and Advantest is soaring almost 7 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 2 percent and Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.1 percent. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is flat.

Among the major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.5 percent, while Canon is gaining more than 2 percent, Sony is surging almost 6 percent and Panasonic is adding more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Renesas Electronics and Fujikura are gaining more than 3 percent each, while Recruit Holdings, Mitsui & Co., Nikon, Konami Group, Japan Steel Works, M3 and Aozora Bank are all adding almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Nippon Paper Industries, Tokyo Electric Power and CyberAgent are losing more than 3 percent each, while Credit Saison and Chubu Electric Power are down almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 432.4 billion yen in April, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday. That beat expectations for a shortfall of 613.8 billion yen following the 755.1 billion yen deficit in March.

Exports were up 2.6 percent on year, shy of forecasts for an increase of 3.0 percent and slowing from 4.3 percent in the previous month. Imports were down an annual 2.3 percent versus expectations for a fall of 0.3 percent after climbing 7.3 percent a month earlier.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 137 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.5 percent and Taiwan is up 1.0 percent, while New Zealand, China, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. Indonesia is closed on account of Ascension Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stock showed a substantial move back to the upside during trading on Wednesday after ending Tuesday’s session mostly lower. The Dow bounced off its lowest closing level in over a month, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a nearly nine-month closing high.

The major averages moved roughly sideways in the final hour of trading, holding on to strong gains. The Dow jumped 408.63 points or 1.2 percent to 33,420.77, the Nasdaq spiked 157.51 points or 1.3 percent to 12,500.57 and the S&P 500 surged 48.87 points or 1.2 percent to 4,158.77.

Meanwhile, the major European markets finished the day mixed. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices rose sharply Wednesday on expectations of higher demand and optimism over U.S. debt ceiling negotiations. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June jumped $1.97 or 2.8 percent at $72.83 a barrel.

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