Asian stock markets are trading mixed in thin holiday trading on Tuesday, following the firmly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders indulged in bargain hunting, even as sinking crude oil prices and worries about potential collapse of Chinese real estate firm Evergrande dented sentiment. Traders also continued to track updates about the spread in the delta variant of the coronavirus in the region. Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday.
Traders are also cautious as they look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. Though, the central bank is widely expected to leave monetary policy unchanged, traders are likely to pay close attention to the wording of the post-meeting statements for cues on the economy.
The Australian stock market is marginally higher on Tuesday after being in the red most of the morning session, recouping some of the sharp losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,200 level, as the RBA decided to keep rates unchanged until at least 2024. Traders also indulged in bargain hunting, even as worries about potential collapse of China’s real estate firm Evergrande dented sentiment.
Australia’s two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are also still under lockdown as the nation struggles to contain the domestic coronavirus situation, primarily in New South Wales and Victoria.
NSW has reported 1,022 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and ten deaths on Monday. Victoria also recorded 603 new locally acquired cases and one death, with the active cases totalling 6,000 across Victoria.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 7.90 points or 0.11 percent to 7,256.10, after hitting a low of 7,191.70 and high of 7,269.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 6.10 points or 0.08 percent to 7,544.00. Australian stocks closed sharply lower on Monday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.5 percent, while Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are gaining more than 1 percent each. OZ Minerals is losing more than 2 percent and Rio Tinto is down almost 1 percent.
Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos and Origin Energy are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum and Beach energy are adding more than 1 percent each. Oil Search is gaining almost 1 percent.
Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are losing almost 1 percent each, while Westpac and National Australia Bank are down more than 1 percent each.
Among tech stocks, Xero and Afterpay are losing almost 1 percent each, while Appen is gaining almost 1 percent and WiseTech Global is adding more than 1 percent.
Gold miners are mostly higher. Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.5 percent, while Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are up almost 2 percent each. Newcrest Mining is gaining more than 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is losing more than 1 percent.
In other news, energy infrastructure group APA has lobbed a $9.96 billion rival offer for peer AusNet, a day after the takeover target opened its books to Brookfield after receiving a $9.6 billion offer from the Canadian infrastructure investor. APA is down almost 4 percent.
In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will on Tuesday release the minutes from its monetary policy meeting of September 7. At the meeting, the RBA kept its key interest rate unchanged at a record low 0.10 percent and confirmed to taper its bond purchases.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.726 on Tuesday.
The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Tuesday after a long weekend, giving up the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei index losing 600 points to fall below the 19,900 level, following the firmly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as worries about potential collapse of China’s real estate firm Evergrande dented sentiment.
The domestic coronavirus situation is also a cause of worry, despite the recent decline in case count. Japan reported 2,244 new cases on Monday, the first time it was below 3,000 in about two months.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,898.57, down 601.48 points or 1.97 percent, after hitting a low of 29,832.52 earlier. The market was closed on Monday. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Friday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 3 percent and Toyota is down more than 1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 2 percent, while Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are down almost 3 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 2 percent, Mizuho Financial is declining more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down almost 1 percent.
The major exporters are lower, with Mitsubishi Electric edging down 0.5 percent and Sony declining more than 1 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are losing almost 2 percent each.
Among the other major losers, Toto is losing more than 6 percent, while Komatsu and Hitachi Construction Machinery are down almost 5 percent each. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Nippon Steel, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Yaskawa Electric, Tokai Carbon, Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Yaskawa Electric are declining more than 4 percent each, while Fanuc, Nexon, JFE Holdings and Daikin Industries are lower by almost 4 percent each.
Conversely, Konami Holdings is soaring almost 9 percent and Kansai Electric Power is adding almost 2 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-109 yen-range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hong Kong are losing between 0.3 and 0.5 percent each, while Singapore and Malaysia are gaining 0.4 and 0.2 percent, respectively. The South Korean market is closed until Wednesday on account of Chuseok Festival, while markets in Taiwan and China are closed for Mid-Autumn Festival.
On Wall Street, stocks plunged sharply on Monday, and the major averages all suffered their worst setbacks in several weeks, as worries about potential collapse of China’s real estate firm Evergrande dented sentiment.
The Dow, which plunged to 33,613.03, ended the session with a loss of 614.41 points or 1.78 percent at 33,970.47. The S&P 500 closed lower by 75.26 points or 1.7 percent at 4,357.73, off the day’s low of 4,305.91, while the Nasdaq settled at 14,713.80, recording a loss of 330.06 points or 2.19 percent.
The major European markets also tumbled on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped 0.86 percent, Germany’s DAX plunged 2.31 percent and France’s CAC 40 drifted down 1.74 percent.
Crude oil prices declined sharply on Monday as worries about a likely slowdown in global economic growth raised concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended down by $1.68 or 2.3 percent at $70.29 a barrel.
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