Asian Markets In Positive Territory

Asian markets are in positive territory on Monday following the rally on Wall Street Friday after a report released by the Labor Department showed U.S. non-farm employment plummeted in April, but was not as bad as expected. Optimism about an economic rebound as governments in more countries begin to ease conavirus lockdown restrictions also lifted the markets.

The Australian market is rising following the gains on Wall Street Friday. The easing of coronavirus-induced restrictions in several Australian states also helped bolster sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 56.20 points or 1.04 percent to 5,447.30, after touching a high of 5,454.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 61.30 points or 1.12 percent to 5,549.30. Australian stocks closed higher on Friday.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is advancing almost 4 percent while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are higher by more than 2 percent each, after crude oil prices gained more than 5 percent on Friday.

In the mining space, Fortescue Metals is rising almost 2 percent, while Rio Tinto and BHP are advancing more than 1 percent each.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and Westpac are higher by almost 2 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are adding almost 1 percent each.
Gold miners are higher even as gold prices declined on Friday. Evolution Mining is adding 0.6 percent and Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.1 percent.

Incitec Pivot reported a 54 percent surge in profit for the half year on higher revenues and said it is raising A$600 million through a share sale to institutional investors at $2.00 per share, an 8.7 percent discount to the stock’s Friday closing price. The industrial chemicals company’s shares are in a trading halt.

Cochlear said its sales revenue for April fell 60 percent as several countries postponed elective surgery to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The hearing implant manufacturer’s shares are adding more than 2 percent.

Suncorp recorded a pre-tax net loss in its investment portfolio for the March quarter reflecting the volatility amid the COVID-19 crisis and said it will incur a charge of up to A$133 million for the quarter. The insurance giant’s shares are rising almost 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is unchanged against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6523, the same as Friday’s close.

The Japanese market is advancing following the rally on Wall Street. The Japanese government is looking to lift a state of emergency in prefectures that are not among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic even before the nationwide state of emergency ends on May 31.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 228.16 points or 1.13 percent to 20,407.25, after touching a high of 20,440.59 earlier. Japanese shares rose sharply on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding 0.5 percent and Fast Retailing is higher by more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Canon is rising almost 3 percent, while Sony and Panasonic are higher by almost 2 percent each, and Mitsubishi Electric is adding more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are adding almost 1 percent each. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are rising more than 2 percent each.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is advancing more than 1 percent and Inpex is higher by 1 percent after crude oil prices gained more than 5 percent on Friday.

Among the other major gainers, Minebea Mitsumi is gaining almost 8 percent and ANA Holdings is rising almost 7 percent. Recruit Holdings and Isuzu Motors are higher by almost 6 percent each.

On the flip side, M3 is losing more than 3 percent and Nomura Holdings is lower by almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 106 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is rising almost 2 percent, while Indonesia and Taiwan are adding more than 1 percent each. South Korea, Shanghai, Singapore and New Zealand are also higher. The markets in Malaysia are closed on Monday in observance of Nuzul Al’Quran.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Friday even though the Labor Department released a report that showed U.S. non-farm employment plummeted by 20.5 million jobs in April after tumbling by a revised 870,000 jobs in March. The steep drop in employment was not as bad as feared, however, as economists had expected employment to plunge by 22.0 million jobs compared to the loss of 701,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. Many are now looking ahead to an anticipated economic rebound as states begin to reopen following their coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

The Dow jumped 455.43 points or 1.9 percent to 24,331.32, the Nasdaq surged up by 141.66 points or 1.6 percent to 9,121.32 and the S&P 500 shot up by 48.61 points or 1.7 percent to 2,929.80.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both surged up by 1.4 percent.

Crude oil prices moved sharply higher on Friday amid a slight improvement in demand for petroleum products. WTI crude for June delivery jumped $1.19 or about 5.1 percent to $24.74 a barrel.

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