Asian Markets Track Wall Street Lower

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Friday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as the markets remain concerned over the outlook for interest rates amid the prospect of further policy tightening from the US Fed after the recent release of upbeat US economic data, including bigger than expected increase in producer prices. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.

The Australian stock market is significantly lower on Friday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,400 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with losses across most sectors, led by coal miners and technology stocks after the Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe told the parliament that further rate increases would be needed to bring down sky-high inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 58.40 points or 0.79 percent to 7,351.90, after hitting a low of 7,347.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 64.50 points or 0.85 percent to 7,556.20. Australian markets ended significantly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is adding more than 1 percent. Mineral Resources is losing almost 2 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

The market is also seeing heavy losses among coal miners, with Whitehaven Coal and New Hope losing more than 4 percent each, while Yancoal Australia declining more than 2 percent.

Oil stocks are weak. Beach energy is losing almost 2 percent, Santos is down almost 1 percent and Woodside Energy is declining more than 1 percent, while Origin Energy is gaining almost 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is slipping more than 7 percent and Xero is down more than 4 percent, while WiseTech Global, Appen and Zip are losing more than 3 percent each.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each, while National Australia Bank is losing more than 1 percent. Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.1 percent.

Gold miners are lower. Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are edging down 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while Evolution Mining is declining more than 4 percent, Newcrest Mining is down more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is losing more than 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.685 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is notably lower on Friday, giving up some of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 falling below the 27,600 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders are concerned about interest rate hikes by the US Fed after the recent release of upbeat US economic data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,537.36, down 159.08 points or 0.57 percent, after hitting a low of 27,466.61 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing 1.5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.5 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are down almost 1 percent each.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is edging down 0.1 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among major exporters, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are edging up 0.2 to 0.4 percent each, while Canon is gaining almost 1 percent. Sony is losing 1.5 percent.

Among the other major losers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is losing almost 4 percent, while Rakuten Group and M3 are declining almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Bridgestone is gaining almost 4 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 134 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, China and Singapore are up 0.2 and 0.3 percent, respectively. New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower during trading on Thursday with hotter-than-expected inflation data leading to renewed concerns about the outlook for interest rates. The major averages showed a significant pullback after turning positive over the course of Wednesday’s session.

The major averages regained ground after an initial sell-off but once again came under pressure in the final hour of trading. The Dow slumped 431.20 points or 1.3 percent to 33,696.85, the Nasdaq plunged 214.76 points or 1.8 percent to 11,855.83 and the S&P 500 tumbled 57.19 points or 1.4 percent at 4,090.41.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 0.9 percent, the German DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both edged up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday, extending losses to a third straight session on recent data showing a surge in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended down $0.10 at $78.49 a barrel.

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