Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Friday following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street after data showed U.S. weekly jobless claims rose for the first time since late March amid a recent surge in the number of coronavirus cases. Worries about rising U.S.-China tensions also weighed on the markets. The Japanese market is closed for a holiday.

The Australian market is declining following the weak cues from Wall Street. The rising number of coronavirus cases in Victoria also dampened sentiment. Stocks are lower across the board.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 65.60 points or 1.08 percent to 6,028.90 and the broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 65.30 points or 1.05 percent to 6,148.60. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Thursday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is declining more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is edging down 0.1 percent, while BHP Group is adding 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are weak even as gold prices rose for a fifth straight session overnight. Evolution Mining is falling more than 5 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing more than 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is losing more than 1 percent, while Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are lower in a range of 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent.

Insurance Australia Group has projected modest growth in gross written premiums and also forecast insurance margin to be lower than expected, ahead of the announcement of its full-year results in August. Insurance Australia’s shares are losing more than 5 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is declining more than 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down 0.5 percent, while Santos is unchanged after crude oil prices extended losses overnight.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local unit was quoted at $0.7095, compared to $0.7152 on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai is losing more than 1 percent and Hong Kong is lower by almost 1 percent. Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are also lower.
South Korea is little changed, while Taiwan is modestly higher. The Japanese market is closed for the Sports Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Thursday after Microsoft reported quarterly results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines, but said transactional license purchasing continued to slow and its LinkedIn unit was negatively impacted by the weak job market. The weakness on Wall Street also came following the release of some disappointing U.S. economic data, including a Labor Department report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased for the first time in sixteen weeks.

The Dow tumbled 353.51 points or 1.3 percent to 26,652.33, the Nasdaq plunged 244.71 points or 2.3 percent to 10,461.42 and the S&P 500 slumped 40.36 points or 1.2 percent to 3,235.66.

The major European markets ended mixed on Thursday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line and the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday, extending losses from the previous session, amid rising concerns over excess supply in the market and the outlook for energy demand. WTI crude settled at $41.07 a barrel, losing $0.83 or about 2 percent.

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