Asian stock markets are mixed on Monday, with broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday. Traders continue to be concerned as restrictions and lockdowns are imposed in several markets in the region amid the ongoing surge in daily coronavirus cases in the region, particularly in Japan and India. Some traders continue to pick up stocks at reduced levels after recent sell-off. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.
The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the gains of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday. Gold miners and technology stocks are leading the gains in the market.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 14.00 points or 0.20 percent to 7,028.20, after touching a high of 7,065.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 20.60 points or 0.29 percent to 7,260.00. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Mineral Resources is losing more than 1 percent. Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.2 percent.
Oil stocks are mixed, with oil Search and Beach energy gaining more than 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.4 percent. Santos is edging down 0.4 percent.
The big four banks are higher. National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Westpac is edging up 0.2 percent and Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay and Appen are gaining almost 1 percent each, while WiseTech Global is flat. Xero is adding nearly 4 percent.
Gold miners are higher after gold prices climbed on Friday. Newcrest Mining is gaining more than 2 percent, while Northern Star Resources and Resolute Mining are adding more than 4 percent each. Evolution Mining is up almost 4 percent and Gold Road Resources is gaining more than 5 percent.
In other news, the board of casino giant Crown Resorts has officially rejected the improved $8.3 billion takeover offer from US private equity group Blackstone as it undervalued the company. Meanwhile, Crown is still considering the merits of a $12 billion merger proposal with rival the Star Entertainment Group. Crown and Star Entertainment shares are edging up 0.2 percent each.
Shares in Incitec Pivot are plunging more than 6 percent after the fertiliser and chemical company reported a profit for the first half that halved to $123.8 million from last year, due to unexpected plant outages in the US. Revenue also declined 6.7 percent to $1.72 billion from last year.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.776 on Monday.
Japanese stock market is modestly lower after paring early gains on Monday, with the Nikkei 225 dropping below the 28,000 mark, as the government enhances their response to tackle the fourth wave of coronavirus infections with expanded and extended state of emergency in more areas. The cues from Wall Street on Friday were broadly positive.
According to reports, Japan recorded the fifth straight day of more than 6000 daily coronavirus infections on Saturday driven by the more contagious variants. Tougher measures are imposed on Sunday in six prefectures, with three coming under an expanded state of emergency and another three under a quasi-emergency. The slow vaccine rollout is also causing concerns.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,753.83, down 330.64 points or 1.18 percent, after hitting a low of 27,744.89 and a high of 28,312.78 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Friday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 3 percent, while Toyota is adding more than 2 percent.
The major exporters are higher, with Sony adding more than 1 percent and Panasonic edging up 0.4 percent, while Canon is flat. Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.5 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is adding almost 1 percent, while Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 3 percent each. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing more than 1 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.2 percent and Mizuho Financial is gaining more than 2 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Ebara is surging almost 10 percent, Dentsu is adding almost 7 percent, Yamaha is up more than 6 percent and Credit Saison is gaining almost 5 percent. Tokyu Fudosan, Isetan Mitsukoshi, Asahi Group, Tokyu and Z Holdings are all up more the 4 percent each. Yokohama Rubber is adding almost 4 percent, while Nippon Suisan, JGC Holdings, Toyo Seikan and Takara are adding more than 3 percent each.
Conversely, Fujikura is plunging more than 14 percent and Mitsubishi Materials is down more than 8 percent, while Nissan Chemical and Comsys are losing almost 7 percent. Nexon is down more than 5 percent and Taisei is losing more than 4 percent, while T&D Holdings, Konica Minolta, Sharp Japan Post and Alps Alpine are declining more than 3 percent each.
In economic news, producer prices in Japan were up 0.7 percent on month in April, the Bank of Japan said on Monday. That exceeded expectations for a gain of 0.5 percent and up from the downwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in March (originally 0.8 percent). On a yearly basis, producer prices jumped 3.6 percent, the highest since September 2014, – again beating forecasts for 3.1 percent and up sharply from 1.0 percent in the previous month.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 109 yen-range on Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia are higher by between 0.3 and 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, Taiwan is plunging 2.4 percent. South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore are lower by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks showed a strong move to the upside during trading on Friday, extending the rebound seen in the previous session. The major averages all climbed firmly into positive territory, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a particularly strong advance.
The major averages ended the session near their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 360.68 points or 1.1 percent to 34,382.13, the Nasdaq soared 304.99 points or 2.3 percent to 13,429.98 and the S&P 500 surged up 61.35 points or 1.5 percent at 4,173.85.
The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index shot up by 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
Crude oil prices moved higher on Friday, due largely to short covering after the setback in the previous session. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended up by $1.55 or 2.4 percent at $65.37 a barrel. WTI crude futures gained 0.7 percent for the week.
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