Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Thursday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, as the markets reflected optimism about the highly anticipated US consumer price inflation report due later today. The report is expected to show a slowdown in the annual rate of consumer price growth and could have a significant impact on the outlook for interest rates. Asian Markets closed mixed on Wednesday.
Traders also looked to continue picking up stocks at relatively reduced levels following the considerable weakness seen last year.
The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving well above the 7,200 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with gains across most sectors, led by technology and financial stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 83.40 points or 1.16 percent to 7,278.70, after touching a high of 7,280.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 81.20 points or 1.10 percent to 7,487.60. Australian stocks ended significantly higher on Wednesday.
Among major miners, Mineral Resources is gaining more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto is adding almost 1 percent, Fortescue Metals is advancing more than 2 percent and BHP Group is rising 1.5 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.
Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy is gaining almost 1 percent, Woodside Energy is adding almost 2 percent and Santos is up more than 1 percent, while Origin Energy is losing more than 1 percent.
In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is gaining 1.5 percent, Xero is adding almost 3 percent and Zip is advancing 3.5 percent, while Appen and WiseTech Global are up almost 1 percent.
Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Westpac and ANZ Banking are adding almost 1 percent each.
Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is losing almost 3 percent and Resolute Mining is slipping more than 5 percent. Newcrest Mining is flat.
In economic news, Australia posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$13.201 billion in November, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That beat expectations for a surplus of A$10.5 billion following the A$12.217 billion surplus in October. Exports were down 0.4 percent on month to A$59.348 billion yen, led by an increase in Other mineral fuels. Imports slipped 1.0 percent on month to A$46.147 billion, driven by a decline in freight transport.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.692 on Thursday.
The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Thursday, alternating around the unchanged line, extending the gains in the previous four sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 26,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with strong gains in financial and technology stocks. Traders remained cautious ahead of the release of US consumer price inflation data later today, which could have a significant impact on the outlook for interest rates.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,455.06, up 9.06 points or 0.03 percent, after touching a high of 26,547.61 and a low of 26,381.93 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly higher on Wednesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.5 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is gaining more than 1 percent, while Honda is edging down 0.4 percent.
In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Advantest is adding almost 1 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining more than 3 percent, Mizuho Financial is adding more than 4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is advancing almost 4 percent.
Among the major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are losing almost 1 percent each, while Panasonic is gaining almost 2 percent and Sony is edging up 0.3 percent.
Among the other major losers, Eisai is losing more than 3 percent.
Conversely, Pacific Metals is gaining more than 5 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is adding more than 4 percent, while Sumitomo Metal Mining and Dowa Holdings are advancing more than 3 percent each. Nidec and Fukuoka Financial Group are advancing almost 3 percent each.
In economic news, Japan posted a current account surplus of 1,803.6 billion yen in November, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday – up 16.4 percent on year. That beat expectations for a surplus of 471 billion yen following the 64.1 billion yen deficit in October. Exports were up 20.7 percent on year at 9.008 trillion yen and imports jumped an annual 33.8 percent to 10.546 trillion yen for a trade deficit of 1.537 trillion yen.
Overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.7 percent on year in December, the Bank of Japan said on Thursday – coming in at 596.525 trillion yen. That was in line with expectations and unchanged from the November reading. For the fourth quarter of 2022, overall lending was up 2.7 percent on year.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-131 yen-range on Thursday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.6 percent each. Singapore and Taiwan are down 0.01 percent. Malaysia and China are relatively flat.
On Wall Street, stocks showed a strong move to the upside over the course of the trading session on Wednesday, extending the upward move seen on Tuesday. With the continued advance, the major averages reached their best closing levels in almost a month.
The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the day at their highs of the session. The Dow climbed 268.91 points or 0.8 percent to 33,973.01, the Nasdaq surged 189.04 points or 1.8 percent to 10,931.67 and the S&P 500 jumped 50.36 points or 1.3 percent to 3,696.61.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index jumped by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent.
Crude oil prices rose sharply Wednesday on hopes for a global economic recovery and the possible impact of sanctions on Russian crude output. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February jumped $2.29 or 3.1 percent at $77.41 a barrel, rising for a fifth straight session.
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