Asian Markets Trading Mixed


Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Tuesday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, as traders booked some profits after the recent market rally. They are also reluctant to make significant moves as they look ahead to next week’s US Federal Reserve meeting, where the Fed is widely expected to pause its recent series of interest rate hikes. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Monday.

Key US inflation reports are also likely to be in the spotlight next week, as the data could impact whether the Fed resumes its rate hikes next month.

The Australian stock market is significantly lower on Tuesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,200 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with weakness across most sectors, led by miners and financial stocks. Traders are also cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy decision.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 33.40 points or 0.46 percent to 7,182.90, after hitting a low of 7,161.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 27.10 points or 0.37 percent to 7,374.10. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group, Fortescue Metals, Mineral Resources and Rio Tinto are edging down 0.1 to 0.5 percent each.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Woodside Energy is edging down 0.5 percent and Santos is losing almost 1 percent, while Origin Energy is edging up 0.5 percent. Beach energy is flat.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is edging down 0.4 percent and Appen is declining more than 3 percent, while Xero is gaining more than 1 percent. WiseTech Global and Zip are edging up 0.2 to 0.4 percent each.

Gold miners are mixed. Gold Road Resources is down almost 1 percent, Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.2 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is gaining almost 2 percent and Resolute Mining is adding more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are all losing almost 1 percent each.

In other news, shares in Baby Bunting are plunging almost 23 percent after the infant goods retailer slashed its net profit outlook by almost half for the full-year 2023.

Shares in A2 Milk are surging more than 6 percent after reports that the milk and infant formula producer received the green signal for re-registration from Chinese authorities.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The RBA is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 3.85 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.662 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday after opening in the red, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 32,300 level at fresh 33-year highs, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, with gains in technology and exporter stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 32,350.58, up 133.15 points or 0.41 percent, after hitting a low of 31,933.87 and a high of 32,314.61 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 2 percent, while Screen Holdings is gaining almost 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are losing more than 1 percent each.

The major exporters are mixed. Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 1 percent and Panasonic is edging up 0.3 percent, while Canon and Sony are edging down 0.1 to 0.5 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, IHI Corp. is gaining more than 5 percent, while Ajinomoto, Kobe Steel and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are adding almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Shizuoka Financial is losing more than 3 percent and Concordia Financial is down almost 3 percent.

In economic news, the average of household spending in Japan was down 4.4 percent on year in April, the Ministry of Communications and Internal Affairs said on Tuesday – coming in at 303,076 yen. That missed expectations for an increase of 0.4 percent after sinking 1.9 percent in March.

On a monthly basis, household spending fell 1.3 percent – again shy of expectations for an increase of 1.5 percent following the 0.8 percent decline in March. The average of monthly income per household stood at 553,975 yen, down 1.4 percent on year.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 139 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is 1.1 percent, while Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.2 and 0.4 percent each. New Zealand and Malaysia are down 0.6 and 0.2 percent, respectively. China and Singapore are relatively flat. South Korea is closed for Memorial Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Monday following the rally seen to close out the previous week. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually finished the session in negative territory. The Nasdaq edged down 11.34 points or 0.1 percent to 13,229.43 and the S&P 500 dipped 8.58 points or 0.2 percent to 4,273.79, while the narrower Dow slid 199.90 points or 0.6 percent to 33,562.86.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 1.0 percent, the German DAX Index fell by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices settled higher Monday after Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, pledged to cut its production by another 1 million barrels per day in July. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended higher by $0.41 or 0.6 percent at $72.15 a barrel, off the intra-day high of $75.06.

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