Asian Markets Lower Amid Virus Fears

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Monday despite the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as worries about a second wave of coronavirus infections amid the reopening of economies weighed on sentiment. China as well as the U.S. states of Texas and North Carolina reported rising number of coronavirus infections during the weekend.

In addition, data released on Monday showed that China’s industrial output and retail sales for May missed expectations.

The Australian market is modestly lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 8.30 points or 0.14 percent to 5,839.50, after touching a low of 5,818.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 4.30 points or 0.07 percent to 5,955.60. Australian stocks closed notably lower on Friday.

The big four banks are mostly lower. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are down in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent, while Westpac is rising 0.6 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is declining 0.6 percent and Santos is down 0.4 percent, while Oil Search is advancing almost 1 percent after crude oil prices edged lower Friday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is losing more than 1 percent and BHP is down 0.1 percent, while Rio Tinto is adding 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are weak after gold prices edged lower. Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing 1 percent.

Boral said it has appointed Adelaide Brighton board member Zlatko Todorcevski as its new chief executive officer, succeeding Mike Kane who will retire from the company in September. The building materials provider’s shares are advancing almost 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6825, compared to $0.6861 on Friday.

The Japanese market is also declining.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 197.76 points or 0.89 percent to 22,107.72, after touching a low of 22,094.82 earlier. Japanese shares closed lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is advancing almost 1 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are modestly higher. Canon is rising 0.3 percent, Sony is adding 0.2 percent and Panasonic is up 0.1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is declining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is lower by more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda Motor is adding 0.3 percent and Toyota is up 0.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is rising 0.2 percent, while Japan Petroleum is lower by 0.7 percent after crude oil prices edged lower on Friday.

Among the major gainers, Idemitsu Kosan and Kirin Holdings are advancing almost 3 percent each, while Tokai Carbon, Mitsui Chemicals, Shionogi & Co. and Nippon Electric Glass are all higher by more than 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Mitsui E&S is tumbling more than 7 percent following news last week that the company is in talks to sell its shipbuilding unit to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Japan Steel Works and FamilyMart Co. are losing more than 3 percent each, while Mitsui Fudosan and Hino Motors are lower by almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see April results for its tertiary industry index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 107 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore and Malaysia are losing more than 1 percent each, while Hong Kong is lower by almost 1 percent. Shanghai and South Korea are also lower, while Indonesia and Taiwan are little changed with a negative bias. New Zealand is higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher Friday on bargain hunting and as the University of Michigan released a report showing a continued rebound in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of June. In addition, a separate report from the Labor Department showed a bigger than expected jump in U.S. import prices in the month of May.

The Dow spiked 477.37 points or 1.9 percent to 25,605.54, the Nasdaq jumped 96.08 points or 1 percent to 9,588.81 and the S&P 500 surged up 39.21 points or 1.3 percent to 3,041.31.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both rose by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil futures settled slightly lower on Friday and posted their first weekly loss in seven weeks, as uncertainty about energy demand amid worries about the global growth outlook weighed on the commodity. Crude for July delivery edged down $0.08 or about 0.2 percent to $36.26 a barrel.

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