Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are mixed on Wednesday despite the overnight gains on Wall Street as investors were disappointed by lack of details about a proposed U.S. stimulus plan. On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump had pledged to provide “very substantial relief” amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Australian market slipped into negative territory after opening higher amid lack of details about the proposed U.S. stimulus plan.

Meanwhile, the Australian government unveiled a A$2.4 billion health package in response to the coronavirus outbreak, that includes establishing 100 pop-up clinics across Australia to help hospitals cope with demand. However, investors are skeptical if it would be adequate to provide a boost to the Australian economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 72.60 points or 1.22 percent to 5,867.00, after rising to a high of 5972.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 65.60 points or 1.09 percent to 5,930.20. Australian stocks reversed early losses to close sharply higher on Tuesday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking and Westpac are declining almost 2 percent each, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are losing more than 2 percent each.

Gold miners are also weak even as safe-haven gold prices fell overnight. Evolution Mining is losing more than 6 percent and Newcrest Mining is tumbling more than 7 percent after lowering its production forecast.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 5 percent and Rio Tinto is edging up 0.1 percent, while BHP is declining 0.6 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher as crude rebounded from the sell-off in the previous session. Santos and Woodside Petroleum are adding 0.6 percent each, while Oil Search is lower by almost 2 percent.

Webjet has withdrawn its full-year earnings outlook as people travel cancel plans amid the coronavirus outbreak. The online travel service’s shares are lower by more than 1 percent.

In economic news, Australia will see January figures for new home loans, and Match data for the consumer confidence index from Westpac Bank today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6499, down from $0.6562 on Tuesday.

The Japanese market is declining in choppy trading despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors are cautious amid lack of clarity about the proposed stimulus measures by the U.S. government to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 114.00 points or 0.57 percent to 19,753.12, after rising to a high of 19,974.83 earlier. Japanese stocks rebounded from early losses to close higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is down 0.6 percent and Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is declining almost 3 percent and Advantest is down almost 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is rising almost 3 percent and Japan Petroleum is declining more than 1 percent, even as crude oil prices rebounded overnight.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker safe-haven yen. Canon is advancing more than 2 percent, while Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are adding more than 1 percent each. Sony is lower by almost 2 percent.

Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is gaining more than 2 percent and Toyota Motor is higher by more than 1 percent. Toyota reportedly plans to temporarily cut production of its Lexus models in Japan due to falling demand in China amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Among the other major gainers, Sumitomo Metal Mining is rising more than 5 percent, while Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor and Ube Industries are higher by more than 4 percent each.

On the flip side, KDDI Corp. and Ricoh Co. are losing almost 4 percent each, while Daiichi Sankyo is lower by almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 104 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea is declining more than 1 percent, while Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong are also lower. Meanwhile, Malaysia is advancing more than 1 percent, while Shanghai, New Zealand, and Taiwan are modestly higher.

On Wall Street, stocks showed wild swings over the course of the trading session on Tuesday before closing sharply higher. While the initial strength was partly due to bargain hunting, positive sentiment was also generated in reaction to President Donald Trump’s pledge to provide “very substantial relief” amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow soared 1,167.14 points or 4.9 percent to 25,018.16, the Nasdaq spiked 393.58 points or 5 percent to 8,344.25 and the S&P 500 surged up 135.67 points or 4.9 percent to 2,882.23.

The major European markets moved to the downside on Tuesday after seeing initial strength. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rebounded on Tuesday, one session after prices plummeted almost 25 percent. WTI crude oil for April delivery jumped $3.23 or 10.4 percent to $34.36 a barrel.

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