Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday after a report from medical news website STAT raised concerns about the trial results of biotech company Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. The decline comes just a day after global stock markets rallied on reports of positive results from the phase one trial of the potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The Australian market is little changed, paring earlier losses. The market opened lower after the STAT News report raised concerns about the trial results of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. Worries about rising trade tensions between Australia and China following Australia’s call for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak also weighed on stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is edging down 4.40 points or 0.08 percent to 5,555.10, after touching a low of 5,507.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 3.40 points or 0.06 percent to 5,662.20. Australian stocks rose to a more than two-month high on Tuesday.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are lower in a range of 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent.

In the mining space, BHP and Rio Tinto are declining more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.1 percent.

Gold miners are lower even as gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is lower by almost 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is lower by more than 1 percent and Santos is down 0.3 percent, while Oil Search is rising more than 1 percent after crude oil prices rose more than 2 percent overnight.

Australian Agricultural Co. reported a turnaround to profit for the full year, aided by a recovery in the live cattle markets. The company’s shares are gaining more than 5 percent.

In economic news, Australia will see April results for the leading economic index from Westpac today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is edging higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6548, compared to Tuesday’s close of $0.6546.

The Japanese market is extending gains from earlier sessions, despite the weak cues from Wall Street. Data showing that Japan’s core machine orders fell less than expected in March boosted sentiment. Reports that Japan is considering lifting a state of emergency in Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto later this week also lifted stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is advancing 112.25 points or 0.55 percent to 20,545.70, after touching a high of 20,567.75 earlier. Japanese shares closed notably higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is down 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is advancing more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Sony is declining more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.6 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are adding 0.2 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest is higher by more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is rising almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda Motor is declining almost 1 percent and Toyota is down 0.5 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is declining more than 2 percent and Inpex is lower by 0.4 percent even as crude oil prices rose overnight.

Sony Financial is gaining almost 8 percent after consumer electronics maker Sony offered to buy the remaining stake in its financial services business, Sony Financial Holdings, for 400 billion yen, or about $3.7 billion.

Among the other major gainers, Furukawa Electric is climbing more than 16 percent, while Screen Holdings and Fujikura are rising almost 4 percent each.

On the flip side, Denka Co. is losing 3 percent, while Fujifilm Holdings and Mitsubishi Motors are lower by almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the Cabinet Office said that core machine orders in Japan slid a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent on month in March, standing at 854.7 billion yen. That beat expectations for a tumble of 7.1 percent, following the 2.3 percent increase in February.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 107 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong are also lower, while South Korea and Taiwan are modestly higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday as traders cashed in on the rally seen in the previous session. Traders have recently expressed considerable optimism about the economy reopening, although lingering concerns about the coronavirus pandemic led to some caution. Traders were also reacting to comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who reaffirmed the central bank will provide more support to the economy.

The Dow tumbled 390.51 points or 1.6 percent to 24,206.86, the Nasdaq slid 49.72 points or 0.5 percent to 9,185.10 and the S&P 500 slumped 30.97 points or 1.1 percent to 2,922.94.

The major European markets ended mixed on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose on Tuesday, supported by increased demand and output cuts, on the expiration of the front-month contract. WTI crude for June delivery climbed $0.68 or about 2.1 percent to $32.50 a barrel.

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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday in a volatile session and on higher commodity prices. Optimism as more countries reopen their economies following coronavirus-induced lockdowns and hopes of more global stimulus measures also lifted stocks.

The Australian market is extending gains from the previous session.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 62.00 points or 1.15 percent to 5,466.80, after touching a high of 5,477.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 68.00 points or 1.24 percent to 5,560.80. Australian stocks closed higher on Friday.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is gaining almost 5 percent, Santos is rising more than 3 percent and Woodside Petroleum is higher by more than 2 percent after crude oil prices jumped almost 7 percent on Friday.

Gold miners are higher after gold prices extended gains to a fourth session on Friday. Newcrest Mining is gaining more than 5 percent and Evolution Mining is rising more than 4 percent.

In the mining space, Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 3 percent, BHP is rising almost 3 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing more than 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ANZ Banking are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

National Australia Bank said its customer support team will start check-ins with customers on about 80,000 home loans who have received a repayment pause to help them through the impact of COVID-19.

Elders reported a half-year net profit that surged from last year, helped by its acquisition of wholesaler Australian Independent Rural Retailers. The agribusiness and property group’s shares are higher by almost 5 percent.

Village Roadshow said it is in talks with private equity firm BGH Capital to be acquired for between $429.4 million and A$468.5 million. The cinema and theme park owner’s shares are climbing more than 13 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6423, compared to Friday’s close of $0.6462.

The Japanese market is modestly higher in a volatile session. Investor sentiment was dampened after data showed that the Japanese economy slipped into a recession in the first quarter.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 57.87 points or 0.29 percent to 20,095.34, after touching a low of 19,999.10 earlier. Japanese shares closed higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is up 0.4 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower despite a slightly weaker yen. Sony is losing more than 2 percent, while Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are declining 0.6 percent each. Panasonic is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is declining 3 percent, following their U.S. peers lower. Among automakers, Toyota is adding 0.5 percent and Honda is up 0.4 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is gaining more than 7 percent and Inpex is advancing more than 2 percent after crude oil prices rose almost 7 percent on Friday.

Among the other major gainers, M3 Inc. is gaining more than 9 percent, Nissan Chemical is rising more than 7 percent and Takara Holdings is higher by more than 5 percent.

On the flip side, Screen Holdings is falling almost 13 percent, Japan Post Holdings is losing more than 8 percent and Showa Denko is lower by almost 7 percent.

In economic news, the Cabinet Office said in Monday’s preliminary report that Japan’s gross domestic product shrank a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent on quarter in the first quarter of 2020. That exceeded expectations for a 1.2 percent drop following the 1.8 percent decline in the previous three months.

Japan is also scheduled to release March numbers for its tertiary industry index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 107 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Shanghai, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia are also higher, while Taiwan is lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher in a volatile session on Friday as traders shrugged off the release of some dismal U.S. economic data, including reports showing record decreases in retail sales and industrial production in the month of April. The Commerce Department said retail sales cratered by 16.4 percent in April after tumbling by a revised 8.3 percent in March. A separate report from the Federal Reserve showed industrial production plummeted by 11.2 percent in April after tumbling by a revised 4.5 percent in March.

After slumping by more than 270 points in early trading, the Dow rose 60.08 points or 0.3 percent to 23,685.42. The Nasdaq advanced 70.84 points or 0.8 percent to 9,014.56 and the S&P 500 climbed 11.20 points or 0.4 percent to 2,863.70.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures ended sharply higher on Friday, extending recent gains, amid hopes on some improvement in energy demand following reopening of businesses in several parts across the globe, and on hopes the output cuts from major producers will support prices. WTI crude futures for June ended up $1.87 or about 6.8 percent at $29.43 a barrel.

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New York Stock Exchange Phased Reopening On May 26

The New York Stock Exchange will partially reopen its trading floor on Tuesday, May 26, following two months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The NYSE trading floor will begin a phased reopening on May 26….and look forward to welcoming home members of our Trading Floor community,” Stacey Cunningham, President of the New York Stock Exchange, tweeted on Thursday.

The NYSE closed its equities and options trading floors and moved to fully electronic trading from March 23 on a temporary basis. The closure of the historic trading floor came after two people tested positive for COVID-19.

The facilities that were temporarily closed included the NYSE equities trading floor in New York, NYSE American Options trading floor in New York, and NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday, Cunningham said that the NYSE would reopen its facility the day after Memorial Day to “a subset of floor brokers” and with “vital security measures”.

The announcement comes as more states in the U.S. start to ease coronavirus-induced lockdowns and reopen their economies.

On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded the state’s phased reopening to five regions. The regions in upstate and central New York are allowed to resume manufacturing, construction and agricultural operations as well curbside pickup at retail stores beginning Friday.

The NYSE president noted in the WSJ op-ed that the reopened NYSE trading floor will look different from the “iconic images” people have grown accustomed to seeing on television throughout the trading day.

Floor brokers will return to the trading floor in small numbers first and will be required to wear protective masks as well as follow strict social-distancing requirements.

Meanwhile, the “designated market makers” overseeing trading of the stock-exchange listed companies will largely continue to work remotely.

Cunningham said that all brokers and visitors to the NYSE will be required to avoid public transportation. They will be screened and have their temperatures taken at the entrance of the building.

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Futures Suggest Wall Street To Open Higher

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to influence investor sentiments. The International Rescue Committee warned that the global spread of coronavirus could go up to one billion.

The total death toll in the U.S. increased to nearly 57,000, while total infections crossed more than 1,010,500. Spain reported total death of 23,822, with 301 new deaths.

On a global basis, there are more than 3,082,726 infections and total deaths of 212,486.

Wholesale inventories, Retails Inventories, and International Trade in Goods report are the major economic announcements on Tuesday.

Asian shares finished mixed, while European shares are trading higher.

Initial signs from the U.S. Futures Index suggest that Wall Street might open higher.
As of 8.10 am ET, the Dow futures were adding 340.00 points, the S&P 500 futures were progressing 36.00 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures were gaining 96.50 points.

The U.S. major averages remained firmly positive on Monday. The Dow jumped 358.51 points or 1.5 percent to 24,133.78, the Nasdaq advanced 95.64 points or 1.1 percent to 8,730.16 and the S&P 500 surged up 41.74 points or 1.5 percent to 2,878.48.

On the economic front, Census Bureau’s International Trade in Goods report for March will be published at 8.30 am ET. The consensus is for a decline of $55.0 billion, while it was down $59.9 billion in the prior month.

The Retail Inventories for March will be issued at 8.30 am ET. In the previous month, inventories were down 0.3 percent.

The Commerce department’s Wholesale Inventories will be released at 8.30 am ET. The consensus is down 0.5 percent, unchanged from the prior month.

The Redbook data, a weekly measure of comparable store sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores, will be issued at 8.55 am ET. In the prior week, the store sales were down 6.9 percent.

The S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index for February will be revealed at 9.00 am ET. The consensus is for an increase of 0.4 percent, higher than 0.3 percent reported in the previous week.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence for April will be revealed at 10.00 am ET. The consensus is for 90.0, while it was up 120.0 in the prior month.

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index for April will be released at 10.00 am ET. The consensus is for a decline of 45, compared to a decline of 38 in the prior month.
Two-year FRN Note auction will be held at 11.30 am ET, while the Seven-year Note auction will be held at 1.00 pm ET.

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.19 percent to 2,810.02, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.22 percent to close at 24,575.96.

Japanese shares ended little changed. Investors also digested data showing that Japan’s unemployment rate rose to a one-year high in March. The Nikkei average slid 12 points to finish at 19,771.19 after sharp gains in the previous session. The broader Topix index closed 0.13 percent higher at 1,449.15.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending lower. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 inched down 8.30 points, or 0.16 percent, to 5,313.10, while the broader All Ordinaries index slipped 7.10 points, or 0.13 percent, to 5,381.20.

European shares are trading higher. Among the major indexes in the region, the CAC 40 Index of France is up 72.64 points or 1.68 percent. The German DAX is adding 179.85 points or 1.69 percent, the U.K. FTSE 100 Index is gaining 95.48 points or 1.64 percent.

The Swiss Market Index is progressing 142.03 points or 1.46 percent.

The Euro Stoxx 50 Index, which is a compilation of 50 blue chip stocks across the euro area, is up 1.85 percent.

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