Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street as traders await the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement and Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments on the economy. They also await cues from the central bank meeting in Japan. Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday.

Traders also continue to be cautious amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the region, mainly in India and Japan, and the possible lockdowns in several markets, impacting the pace of global economic recovery from the pandemic.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Tuesday, extending the losses of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark near 14-month highs, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Stocks across all sectors are generally trading weak.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 28.10 points or 0.40 percent to 7,017.50, after hitting a low of 7,005.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 27.40 points or 0.38 percent to 7,280.40. Australian markets ended modestly lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are gaining almost 1 percent each, while OZ Minerals is up more than 1 percent.

Among oil stocks are mostly lower as crude oil prices slid. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Santos is edging up 0.2 percent. Origin Energy is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging down 0.4 percent each, while ANZ Banking is flat.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay and WiseTech Global are edging down 0.3 percent each, while Appen is losing more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are mixed, with Newcrest Mining losing more than 1 percent and Northern Star Resources down almost 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is gaining almost 1 percent.

In other news, BlueScope steel increased its earnings guidance for the second half by up to 30 percent based on soaring steel prices across Asia and in the United States. The stock is up almost 2 percent.

Shares in Bingo Industries are surging almost 7 percent after the waste manager agreed to a boosted $2.3 billion takeover proposal from Macquarie, three months after a $2.1 billion deal was first floated.

Shares in Tabcorp are up more than 3 percent after British wagering giant Entain boosted its bid for Tabcorp’s bookmaking and media division by half a billion dollars to $3.5 billion.

Shares in iSelect are higher by almost 7 percent after the insurance comparison platform announced a special dividend, unfranked, of 1 cent per share, payable June 22. It also confirmed it will start a dividend program from the 2022 financial year.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.778 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is marginally lower on Tuesday, with the benchmark Nikkei index staying just above the 29,000 mark, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. The market is cautious as the government enhances their response to tackle the fourth wave of coronavirus infections driven by more contagious variants. The death toll from the pandemic also topped 10,000 on Monday

Investors are also looking ahead to the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision due later today.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,047.00, down 79.23 points or 0.27 percent, after hitting a low of 29,042.80 earlier. Japanese shares closed higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.3 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is down almost 1 percent and Toyota is losing 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is up 0.5 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are gaining almost 1 percent each.

The major exporters are weak, with Panasonic losing more than 1 percent, Sony down more than 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric declining almost 1 percent and Canon edging down 0.5 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Nippon Paper Industries is gaining almost 7 percent, IHI is adding more than 5 percent and Okuma is up more than 4 percent. Rakuten and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are rising almost 4 percent each, while Kobe Steel, Konica Minolta and Alps Alpine are up more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Asahi Kasei and Nitto Denko are losing almost 3 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo, Fuji Electric, Sumitomo Realty and Nissan Chemicals are down more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The BoJ is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate at -0.1 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 108 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Korea and China are down between 0.1 and 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan are gaining between 0.2 and 0.4 percent.

On Wall Street, the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed in positive territory on Monday, with technology stocks helping to lead the way higher. Both indexes reached new record closing highs, although the narrower Dow closed slightly lower.

While the Dow edged down 61.92 points or 0.2 percent to 33,981.57, the Nasdaq advanced 121.97 points or 0.9 percent to 14,138.78 and the S&P 500 rose 7.45 points or 0.2 percent to 4,187.62.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Monday amid continues worries about the outlook for energy demand due to rising coronavirus cases in India. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended lower by $0.23 or 0.4 percent at $61.91 a barrel.

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