Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday, despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders reacted to the tensions between Washington and Beijing after the U.S. licence of one of China’s biggest telecoms companies was revoked citing national security concerns as well as the jump in Australian core inflation.

Concerns about slowing growth amid supply chain bottlenecks are also weighing on market sentiment. Asian Markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

Further, there are fresh worries about China’s property sector hitting the Hong Kong and mainland markets. Property developers are coming under selling pressure after Modern Land missed a bond payment, adding to worries about wider effects of the debt crisis at behemoth China Evergrande Group.

The Australian stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading on Wednesday, giving up the slight gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,400 level, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with traders reacting to the jump in Australian core inflation. Energy and mining stocks are dragging the market.

Meanwhile, the domestic coronavirus situation continues to be a concern, while the country gradually opens up after lifting lockdowns and restrictions in most places. Victoria reported 1,534 new cases of COVID-19 and thirteen deaths on Tuesday, with 24,164 total active cases across Victoria. NSW recorded 304 new local cases and three deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 2.00 points or 0.03 percent to 7,441.40, after hitting a low of 7,419.70 and a high of 7,473.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 7.70 points or 0.10 percent to 7,751.60. Australian stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are losing more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is declining almost 1 percent, Mineral Resources is down almost 2 percent and OZ Minerals is edging down 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed. Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.3 percent, while Oil Search is edging down 0.5 percent and Santos is declining almost 1 percent. Origin Energy and Beach energy are losing more than 1 percent each.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is edging up 0.5 percent, while Afterpay and Xero are edging up 0.3 percent each. Appen is down almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is losing almost 1 percent and Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.2 percent, while Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.2 percent each.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is losing more than 2 percent, Resolute Mining is lower by more than 3 percent, Newcrest Mining is down almost 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is declining more than 1 percent. Gold Road Resources is gaining more than 1 percent.

Shares in Woolworths are up more than 3 percent after the supermarket giant reported a surge in sales for the first quarter on a jump in online sales, despite frequent store closures and COVID restrictions.

Shares in beleaguered milk and infant formula producer a2 Milk are plunging almost 11 percent after it said the company will double down on its China aspirations despite major uncertainties over future growth.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.753 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is notably lower on Wednesday, giving up some of the sharp gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index above the 28,900 level, despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders are cautious ahead of the general elections this weekend and announcements from the Bank of Japan’s ongoing Monetary Policy Meetings.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,946.61, down 159.40 points or 0.55 percent, after hitting a low of 28,870.25 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 4 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is flat. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.6 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing 1.5 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Advantest are down more than 1 percent each.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging down 0.3 percent, while Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic and Sony are losing almost 3 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is down almost 1 percent and Canon is declining 6.5 percent.

Among the other major losers, Fujikura is losing more than 7 percent, Nippon Yusen K.K. is down more than 5 percent and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is down almost 5 percent, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and NTN are declining 4.5 percent each. Ricoh and Tokyo Electric Power are lower by almost 4 percent each, while Casio Computer and Credit Saison are down more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Nitto Denko and Hitachi Construction Machinery are gaining more than 6 percent each, while Ajinomoto is adding 3.5 percent.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is plunging 1.7 percent and China is losing 1 percent, while New Zealand, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 0.7 percent each. Singapore is bucking the trend and is up 0.5 percent. Malaysia is flat.

On Wall Street, stocks pulled back well off their best levels of the day, but still managed to end Tuesday’s session modestly higher. With the uptick on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 once again reached new record closing highs.

After rising by more than 150 points to a new record intraday high, the Dow ended the day up just 15.73 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 35,756.88. The Nasdaq also crept up 9.01 points or 0.1 percent to 15,235.72, while the S&P 500 edged up 8.31 points or 0.2 percent to 4,574.79.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both advanced by 0.8 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher Tuesday, recovering from early losses amid increasing signs of a supply shortage and higher demand for oil. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended higher by $0.89 or 1.1 percent at $84.65 a barrel.

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