Asian markets are mostly trading lower
(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mostly down on Friday, despite mostly positive signals from Wall Street overnight, as lingering concerns over the economic slowdown and fears of a debt default US made the mood bearish. Some relief is seen as lawmakers edge closer to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and cap spending for two years. Asian markets mostly ended lower on Thursday.
Reflecting default fears, Fitch Ratings placed US “AAA” credit on “negative watch”, signaling downside risks to US solvency.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said some progress has been made, but several issues remain unresolved in negotiations as the deadline draws closer to raise the $31.4 trillion borrowing limit or the risk of federal government default.
With just over a week to go – including a holiday weekend – US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated her dire warning that the United States could struggle to pay its bills.
Australia’s stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading on Friday, extending losses from the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index remaining below the 7,200 level, despite mostly positive signals from Wall Street today overnight, driven by gold losses. mining and energy stocks and falling bullion and crude oil prices.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is down 3.20 points or 0.05% at 7,135.00, after hitting a low of 7,129.00 and a high of 7,143.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries index was down 3.10 points or 0.04% at 7,313.60. Australian markets ended sharply lower on Thursday.
Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals gained more than 1% and BHP Group gained 0.2%, while Mineral Resources and Rio Tinto added almost 1% each.
Oil stocks are low. Santos and Woodside Energy are down almost 1% each, while Beach Energy is down almost 2%. The original energy is flat.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is down 4.5% and Xero is down nearly 1%, while WiseTech Global is up 0.3% and Appen is up nearly 1%. The zip is flat. Among the big four banks, Westpac, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank rose 0.2 to 0.4% each, while Commonwealth Bank gained almost 1%.
Gold miners are weak. Gold Road Resources, Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are down almost 1% each, while Newcrest Mining is down more than 1% and Resolute Mining is down almost 2%.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at $0.651 on Friday.
The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Friday, extending gains from the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving slightly above the 31,100 level to rally to new 33-year highs, on signals mostly positive from Wall Street overnight, boosted by gains across most sectors, led by tech stocks.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 closed the morning session at a daily high of 31,101.60, up 300.47 points or 0.98%. Japanese stocks closed noticeably higher on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group edged up 0.5%, while operator Uniqlo Fast Retailing edged down 0.1%. Among automakers, Honda rose 0.2% and Toyota 0.3%.
In technology, Advantest is up almost 3% and Screen Holdings is up over 6%, while Tokyo Electron is up almost 5%. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial fell 0.3 to 0.4% each, while Mizuho Financial rose 0.1%.
Among major exporters, Panasonic rose 0.3%, while Mitsubishi Electric and Sony gained nearly 1% each. Canon is down 0.1%. Among the other big winners, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Taiyo Yuden are up nearly 6% each, while Renesas Electronics, Marubeni, Hoya, Keisei Electric Railway and Toppan each gain nearly 4%. Resonac Holdings, Fujikura and Sumco each gained more than 3%, while Central Japan Railway and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rose nearly 3% each.
Conversely, there are no other big losers.
In economic news, overall consumer prices in Japan’s Tokyo area rose 3.2 percent year-on-year in May, the Interior and Communications Ministry said on Friday. That was below expectations for a 3.9% increase and down from April’s 3.5%.
Core CPI, which excludes volatile food costs, also rose 3.2% year-on-year in May, below expectations for a 3.3% rise and down from the 3 .5% of the previous month.
Meanwhile, producer prices in Japan rose 1.6% year-on-year in April, the Bank of Japan said on Friday. That beat expectations for a 1.4% increase after the upwardly revised gain of 1.7% in March (originally 1.6%). On a monthly basis, producer prices rose 0.2%, down from the 0.6% gain the previous month.
In the currency market, the US dollar is trading in the upper range of 139 yen on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan are down 0.1-0.8% each, while South Korea and Indonesia are up 0.3 and 0.1%, respectively. Hong Kong is closed for the Vesak Day holiday.
On Wall Street, stocks mostly rose during Thursday’s session, regaining ground after falling sharply on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Nasdaq showed a particularly strong bullish move, reflecting the strength of the tech sector.
The Nasdaq jumped 213.93 points or 1.7% to 12,698.09, rebounding near the nine-month closing high set on Monday. The S&P 500 also jumped 36.04 points or 0.9% to 4,151.28, while the narrower Dow bucked the downtrend and edged down 35.27 points or 0.1% to 32,764.65.
Meanwhile, major European markets also traded lower on the day. While Britain’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.7%, France’s CAC 40 index and Germany’s DAX index both fell 0.3%.
Crude oil prices fell sharply on Thursday, ending a three-day winning streak, after Russia’s deputy prime minister said Russia would not accept any further cuts in crude output. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for July ended down $2.51 or 3.4% at $71.83 a barrel.
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