Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with support from crude oil prices and as traders looked to pick up stocks at somewhat reduced levels after the recent drop. The recent data showing acceleration in the rate of consumer price inflation has raised the possibility of the Federal Reserve hiking rates by mid 2022. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.

There are also reports from China that several bondholders had received overdue coupon payments from cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group.

The Australian stock market is rebounding on Friday, after four straight sessions of losses, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,400 level, following mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, led by gains across most sectors, with particular strength in energy and mining stocks amid higher commodity prices. Traders are also bargain hunting after the recent losses.

Traders are still cautious as the country is gradually reopening after lifting lockdown restrictions, particularly in Victoria where COVID-19 cases are still high. Victoria reported 1,115 new locally acquired cases and nine deaths on Thursday. NSW has reported 286 new local cases of COVID-19 and two deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 71.60 points or 0.97 percent to 7,453.50, after touching a high of 7,465.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 74.40 points or 0.97 percent to 7,775.60. Australian markets ended significantly lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are gaining more than 4 percent each, while BHP Group is adding more than 3 percent and Mineral Resources is rising almost 4 percent and OZ Minerals is advancing almost 3 percent.

BHP received approval from its Australian shareholders in favour of the roadmap for its climate transition action plan, with 84.5 percent of votes cast in favour.

Oil stocks are higher. Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Beach energy and Santos are adding almost 1 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Xero is gaining more than 3 percent and WiseTech Global is up almost 1 percent, while Afterpay and Appen are adding more than 1 percent each.

Among the big four banks, Westpac and ANZ Banking are gaining almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank is adding more than 1 percent. Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.5 percent.

Gold miners are higher. Resolute Mining is gaining almost 3 percent, Evolution Mining is up more than 2 percent, Northern Star Resources is adding almost 2 percent, Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.2 percent and Gold Road Resources are rising almost 4 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.728 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is trading significantly higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just below the 29,600 level, following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders are bargain hunting after the recent losses. Traders are also awaiting the economic stimulus package from newly elected government.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,612.21, up 334.35 points or 1.14 percent, after touching a high of 29,661.22 earlier. Japanese shares closed significantly higher on Thursday.

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

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Screen Holdings is up more than 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding more than 1 percent, while and Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are up almost 1 percent each.

Among major exporters, Panasonic and Canon are gaining 1.5 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.3 percent and Sony is gaining more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Citizen Watch is soaring 10.5 percent, Marui Group is surging 6 percent, Trend Micro is gaining more than 5 percent, while Mitsui Fudosan and Mitsubishi Estate are advancing more than 4 percent each. Tokyu Fudosan is up almost 4 percent, while Nippon Electric Glass, Tokyo Tatemono and Hitachi Zosen are rising more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Oki Electric Industry is sliding almost 5 percent, Oki Electric Industry is losing almost 5 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust is down more than 4 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 114 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea is plunging 1.6 percent, while Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each. New Zealand and Indonesia are down 0.6 and 0.4 percent, respectively. China is trading relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday following the notable pullback seen over the two previous sessions. While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 regained some ground, the narrower Dow saw further downside.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 81.58 points or 0.5 percent to 15,704.28 after underperforming its counterparts in the previous session. The S&P 500 also inched up 2.56 points or 0.1 percent to 4,649.27, while the Dow slid 158.71 points or 0.4 percent to 35,921.23.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved higher on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Thursday as traders weighed global energy demand and supply prospects. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended up by $0.25 or 0.3 percent at $81.59 a barrel.

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