Asian Markets Modestly Higher As Final U.S. Presidential Debate Ends
The Australian market pared early gains and is modestly higher on Thursday as investors digested weaker-than-expected Australian employment data.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 7.60 points or 0.14 percent to 5,443.00, off a high of 5,457.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 8.30 points or 0.15 percent to 5,526.70.
Among the major miners, Rio Tinto said its September quarter iron ore shipments declined 5 percent and also lowered its full-year shipment outlook. The mining giant’s shares are adding 0.6 percent. BHP Billiton is advancing more than 1 percent.
Fortescue Metals reported a 5 percent increase in iron ore shipments for the September quarter and maintained its full-year shipment outlook. However, its shares are down 0.5 percent.
South32 recorded a 4 percent decline in manganese ore production in the first quarter and said it is on track to achieve its cost guidance for the majority of its production. The company’s shares are losing 0.6 percent.
Gold miner Newcrest Mining is rising almost 2 percent and Evolution Mining is gaining more than 4 percent after gold prices rose overnight.
In the oil sector, Oil Search is up 0.7 percent and Santos is rising more than 3 percent on higher crude oil prices.
Woodside Petroleum’s shares are adding 0.6 percent after it reported a 9 percent decrease in September quarter sales revenue, but slightly raised the lower end of its full-year production outlook.
Banks are mixed. ANZ Bank is adding 0.3 percent and National Australia Bank is up 0.2 percent, while Westpac is losing 0.3 percent and Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.01 percent.
Dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn has cut its forecast for 2016-17 farmgate milk prices and also lowered its profit outlook. Units in Murray Goulburn’s listed entity, MG Unit Trust, are falling almost 3 percent.
In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the unemployment rate in Australia was a seasonally adjusted 5.6 percent in September. That was beneath forecasts for 5.7 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month following a revision from 5.6 percent.
The Australian economy lost 9,800 jobs last month, well shy of expectations for an increase of 15,000, following the loss of 8,600 jobs in August.
Australia also will see third-quarter results for the business confidence index from NAB.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. In late-morning trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7698, up from US$0.7676 on Wednesday.
The Japanese market is higher for a fifth day, following the positive lead overnight from Wall Street and the jump in crude oil prices. In addition, a weaker yen lifted exporters’ shares.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 162.96 points or 0.96 percent to 17,161.87, after falling to 16,992.14 in early trades.
Among the major exporters, Toshiba is advancing almost 2 percent, Panasonic is adding 0.6 percent and Canon is unchanged, while Sony is losing 0.3 percent. Sharp Corp. is rising almost 6 percent, extending its strong gains from the previous session.
Automaker Toyota is rising almost 1 percent and Honda is up more than 1 percent. Fast Retailing is rising almost 3 percent and SoftBank is higher by more than 1 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is up 0.6 percent.
In the oil sector, Inpex is up more than 1 percent and JX Holdings is adding 0.4 percent as crude oil prices rose overnight.
Among the major gainers, Mitsui Fudosan is rising more than 5 percent, while Tokyo Tatemono and Mitsubishi Estate are gaining almost 4 percent each. On the flip side, Kao Corp. is losing almost 2 percent.
On the economic front, Japan will provide September figures for department store sales and convenience store sales today.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 103 yen-range on Thursday. Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are modestly higher. Shanghai and New Zealand are edging lower.
On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Wednesday amid a sharp increase by the price of crude oil as well as on upbeat corporate earnings results.
The Dow rose 40.68 points or 0.2 percent to 18,202.62, the Nasdaq inched up 2.57 points or 0.1 percent to 5,246.41 and the S&P 500 edged up 4.69 points or 0.2 percent to 2,144.29.
The major European markets moved to the upside on Wednesday after seeing initial weakness. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both rose by 0.3 percent.
Crude oil prices rose Wednesday following the release of a report showing an unexpected drop in weekly crude oil inventories. WTI crude for November delivery surged up $1.31 or 2.6 percent to $51.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the best closing level since July of 2015.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX