Asian Markets Track Global Markets Higher

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight amid optimism lawmakers will eventually reach an agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling to avoid a default. However, worries about inflation and the outlook for interest rates weighed on sentiment. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.

Following a meeting earlier in the week, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., both expressed optimism a deal will be reached.

“Stocks are rising as the biggest risk on Wall Street’s table appears to be going away,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. “Speaker McCarthy said that the House could vote on the debt ceiling deal as soon as next week.”

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying just below the 7,300 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, boosted by gains in technology and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 49.30 points or 0.68 percent to 7,286.10, after touching a high of 7,292.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 49.80 points or 0.67 percent to 7,476.80. Australian markets ended notably higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Mineral Resources is edging up 0.1 percent. BHP Group is flat.

Oil stocks are mixed. Woodside Energy is edging up 0.4 percent, while Santos and Origin Energy are edging down 0.3 to 0.5 percent each. Beach energy is gaining more than 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining more than 3 percent, WiseTech Global is adding 1.5 percent, Xero is advancing more than 1 percent, Appen is edging up 0.2 percent and Zip is up almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are gaining more than 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank is adding almost 2 percent and ANZ Banking is up almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are weak. Gold Road Resources and Newcrest Mining are losing more than 2 percent each, while Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are declining almost 2 percent each. Resolute Mining is gaining more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.664 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous six sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving above the 30,900 level to near 33-year highs, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, boosted by gains in index heavyweight stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 30,904.26, up 330.33 points or 1.08 percent, after touching a high of 30,924.57 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing almost 3 percent and Screen Holdings is edging down 0.5 percent, while Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are losing more than 1 percent each.

Among major exporters, Canon is edging up 0.5 percent and Sony is gaining almost 2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 1 percent and Panasonic is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Ricoh is surging almost 7 percent and Japan Steel Works is gaining more than 4 percent, while M3 and Recruit Holdings are adding almost 4 percent each. Yaskawa Electric, OKUMA, NEXON and Olympus are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, there are no other major losers.

In economic news, Overall consumer prices in Japan were up 3.5 percent on year in April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That was well above expectations for an increase of 2.5 percent and up from 3.2 percent in March.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, inflation rose 0.6 percent – above forecasts for 0.5 percent and up from 0.4 percent in the previous month.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, were up 3.4 percent on year – matching forecasts and accelerating from 3.1 percent a month earlier. On month, core CPI was up 0.5 percent – unchanged and in line with expectations.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 138 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.3 and 0.3 percent each. Hong Kong is down 1.1 percent, while China and Malaysia are down 0.2 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks showed another strong move to the upside during trading on Thursday following the rally seen during Wednesday’s session. With the continued advance, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in about nine months.

The major averages reached new highs for the session going into the close of trading. The Nasdaq surged 188.27 points or 1.5 percent to 12,688.83, the S&P 500 jumped 39.28 points or 0.9 percent to 4,198.05 and the Dow rose 115.14 points or 0.3 percent to 33,535.91.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index jumped by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Thursday amid concerns about the outlook for demand after recent data showed an increase in U.S. crude inventories last week, while a strong dollar weighed as well on oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for June ended lower by $0.97 or 1.3 percent at $71.86 a barrel.

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