Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, as data showing a drop in U.S. consumer prices inflation in the month of December, the first time in more than two and a half years, raised expectations the US Fed will slow down the pace of its interest rate hikes in the coming months. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.
The US Fed is still widely expected to raise rates by at least 25 basis points at its next meeting.
The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,300 level, despite the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with gains across most sectors, led by mining and energy stocks amid continued strength in commodity prices.
Data showing a drop in U.S. consumer prices inflation in the month of December, the first time in more than two and a half years, raised expectations the US Fed will slow down the pace of its interest rate hikes in the coming months.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 50.00 points or 0.69 percent to 7,330.40, after touching a high of 7,357.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 52.40 points or 0.70 percent to 7,542.30. Australian markets ended significantly higher on Thursday.
Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals, OZ Minerals and Mineral Resources are edging down 0.1 to 0.3 percent each.
Oil stocks are higher. Santos is gaining more than 3 percent, Woodside Energy is adding 1.5 percent and Beach energy is advancing more than 2 percent. Origin Energy is flat.
Among tech stocks, Appen is gaining more than 1 percent and Xero is advancing more than 2 percent, while Zip and WiseTech Global are adding almost 2 percent each. Afterpay owner Block is edging up 0.1 percent.
Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is gaining more than 1 percent and Westpac is adding almost 1 percent, while ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are up 1.5 percent each.
Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.4 percent, Evolution Mining is adding almost 1 percent and Resolute Mining is advancing more than 2 percent.
In economic news, the value of loans for owner-occupied housing fell a seasonally adjusted 3.8 percent on month in November, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Friday – coming in at A$16.43 billion. On a yearly basis, owner-occupied housing loans dropped 24.8 percent, investment lending lost 23/2 percent and overall loans slipped 24.3 percent.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.696 on Friday.
The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Friday, snapping the five-session winning streak, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 falling below the 26,200 level, despite the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, as a stronger yen weighed on exporters, partially offset by gains in technology and financial stocks with traders digesting the softer than expected US inflation data.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,143.41, down 306.41 points or 1.16 percent, after touching hitting a low of 26,090.84 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is plunging more than 7 percent after first-quarter profit declined and missed estimates. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is declining almost 2 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are advancing almost 3 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is gaining more than 3 percent.
In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding more than 2 percent.
Among major exporters, Canon is edging down 0.5 percent, Panasonic is losing 1.5 percent and Sony is declining more than 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.2 percent.
Among the other major losers, Nippon Sheet Glass is losing almost 4 percent, Toho is declining more than 3 percent and Mazda Motor is down almost 3 percent.
Conversely, Seven & I Holdings is gaining almost 5 percent and Fukuoka Financial Group is adding more than 4 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Trust and Concordia Financial Group are up almost 4 percent each. T&D Holdings is rising more than 3 percent, while Shizuoka Financial Group, Chiba Bank and Dai-ichi Life are advancing almost 3 percent each.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 129 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia are all higher by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday, extending the upward trend seen over the past several sessions. The major averages saw substantial volatility early in the session but climbed firmly into positive territory as the day progressed.
The major averages finished the day off their highs of the session but held on to gains. The Dow advanced 216.96 points or 0.6 percent to 34,189.97, the Nasdaq climbed 69.43 points or 0.6 percent to 11,001.10 and the S&P 500 rose 13.56 points or 0.3 percent to 3,983.17.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both climbed by 0.7 percent.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Thursday, gaining for a sixth straight session on a weaker dollar and data showing a slowdown in U.S. inflation. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February added $0.98 or 1.3 percent at $78.39 a barrel.
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