Asian Markets Showing Mixed Trend

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Wednesday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as upbeat industrial production and retail sales data out of the U.S. rekindled fears about the pace of interest-rate rises. There were also reports that the U.S. government would be at risk of default unless lawmakers again lift the legal debt ceiling by December 15. Asian Markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower in choppy trading on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,400 level, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with gains in energy and information technology stocks more than offset by weakness in gold mining, materials and financial stocks.

The domestic coronavirus situation also continues to be a concern, while the country gradually opens up after lifting all lockdowns and restrictions. Victoria reported 996 new cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths on Tuesday, with 14,260 total active cases across Victoria. NSW recorded 231 new local cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 49.80 points or 0.67 percent to 7,370.60, after hitting a low of 7,359.30 and a high of 7,431.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 38.70 points or 0.50 percent to 7,708.40. Australian stocks ended notably lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is losing almost 1 percent, while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are edging down 0.1 percent each. OZ Minerals is gaining almost 2 percent and Mineral Resources is edging up 0.2 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Petroleum and Beach energy are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Santos is adding almost 1 percent, Oil Search is edging up 0.2 percent and Origin Energy is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global, Xero and Afterpay are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Appen is surging 4.5 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is losing more than 1 percent, Westpac is down almost 1 percent and National Australia Bank is edging down 0.4 percent. Commonwealth Bank is plunging 6.5 percent, despite reporting a 22 percent jump in its cash profit in the September quarter, as the bank said its net interest margin was “considerably lower in the quarter”.

Among gold miners, , Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are declining almost 2 percent each, while Evolution Mining is losing almost 3 percent, Resolute Mining is down almost 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is slipping 2.5 percent.

Shares in Uniti Group are surging almost 7 percent after the fibre network provider told shareholders it expects to meet or beat market consensus forecasts.

Shares in Nufarm are plunging more that 7 percent after the agricultural chemical company reported solid 2021 financial year results.

In economic news, the wage price index in Australia was up 2.2 percent on year in the third quarter of 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. That was in line with expectations and was up from 1.7 percent in the three months prior. On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, wages grew 0.6 percent on quarter, beating forecasts for an increase of 0.5 percent and accelerating from 0.4 percent in the second quarter. Private sector wages were up 0.6 percent on quarter and 2.4 percent on year, while public sector wages gained 0.5 percent on quarter and 1.7 percent on year.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.728 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday after opening in the green, recouping some of the losses in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index below the 29,700 level, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders reacted to weaker than expected domestic data and also picked up stocks at a bargain following the recent losses.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,674.74, down 133.38 points or 0.45 percent, after hitting a low of 29,623.79 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly higher on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent, while Toyota is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining almost 4 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding almost 3 percent and Advantest is rising almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are flat, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is down 1.5 percent, Canon is declining more than 1 percent and Sony is edging down 0.5 percent.

Among the other major losers, Pacific Metals plunging almost 5 percent, while Recruit Holdings and Hino Motors are sliding almost 4 percent each. Nikon, Kyowa Kirin and Sumitomo Osaka Cement are losing more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Nitto Denko, Inpex, Citizen Watch and Sumco are losing almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the value of core machine orders in Japan was down 0.4 billion yen or 0.0 percent in September, the Cabinet Office said on Wednesday, coming in at 838.9 billion yen. That missed expectations for an increase of 1.8 percent following the 2.4 percent decline in August. On a yearly basis, core machine orders rose 12.5 percent – again missing forecasts for an increase of 17.4 percent after rising 17.0 percent in the previous month. For the third quarter of 2021, core machine orders rose 0.7 percent on quarter and 13.3 percent on year. For the fourth quarter, orders are forecast to gain 3.1 percent both on quarter and on year.

Japan also posted a merchandise trade deficit of 67.370 billion yen in October, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday. That exceeded expectations for a shortfall of 310 billion following the downwardly revised 624,1 billion yen deficit in September (originally a deficit of 622.8 billion yen). Exports were up 9.4 percent on year at 7.184 trillion yen, shy of expectations for an increase of 9.9 percent following the 13.0 percent gain in the previous month. Imports climbed an annual 267 percent to 7.251 trillion yen versus expectations for a gain of 31.9 percent and slowing from 38.6 percent a month earlier.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea is sliding 1.0 percent, while Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore are lower by between 0.3 and 0.6 percent each. China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.2 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday after ending the previous session roughly flat The major averages all moved to the upside on the day, although buying interest waned as the trading day progressed. The Dow and the S&P 500 pulled back well off their highs in late-day trading, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq remained firmly positive.

The Nasdaq advanced 120.01 points or 0.8 percent to 15,973.86, just shy of the record closing high set last Monday. The S&P 500 also ended the day just below its record closing high, up 181.0 points or 0.4 percent to 4,700.90. Meanwhile, the Dow ended the day up 54.77 points or 0.2 percent at 36,142.22 after rising by more than 200 points earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, the major European markets finished the session mixed. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dipped 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index climbed 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Tuesday, weighed down by a forecast by the International Energy Agency that global crude output will rise and help ease tight supplies. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended lower by $0.12 or 0.2 percent at $80.76 a barrel.

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