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Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

Asian Markets Mostly Higher Amid Cautious Trades

by November 15, 2016 General
CANBERA (dpa-AFX) – Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday despite the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Meanwhile, crude oil prices rebounded in Asian trades after falling overnight.

Nevertheless, investors are cautious amid expectations that while U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s policies may drive economic growth, they may also be inflationary.

The Australian market is extending losses from the previous session, following the mixed cues from Wall Street and lower oil prices.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 38.00 points or 0.71 percent to 5,307.70, off a low of 5,303.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 36.30 points or 0.67 percent to 5,384.00.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton is down 0.7 percent, Rio Tinto is losing almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by more than 1 percent.

The big four banks are also lower. ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are down in a range of 0.4 percent to 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miner Newcrest Mining is advancing more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is rising more than 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is advancing 0.7 percent and Santos is higher by almost 3 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is down 0.4 percent.

Ainsworth Game Technology has reaffirmed its outlook for a sharp decline in interim pre-tax profit to A$15 million, citing challenging local industry conditions. The company’s shares are declining 0.7 percent.

Mesoblast reported a first-quarter loss that widened from last year and also announced positive results from one of its trial drugs to treat acute versus graft host disease in children. Shares of the regenerative medicine company are rising 4 percent, extending the sharp gains from the previous session.

Ruralco Holdings is acquiring stakes in two companies – Ausure Consolidated Brokers Pty Ltd. And TP Jones Pty Ltd. – for an undisclosed sum. The transactions will enable the agribusiness company to expand its presence in the financial services and retail sectors. The company’s shares are losing more than 3 percent.

In economic news, minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s November 1 meeting revealed that members of the central bank’s monetary policy board said the country’s inflation rate is slightly below trend. The members added that they expect inflation to return to normal levels over time.

At the meeting, the bank kept the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 percent, as expected. The bank had reduced the rate by 25-basis points each in August and May.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is almost unchanged against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. In late-morning trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7544, compared to US$0.7542 on Monday.

The Japanese market is edging lower in choppy trades, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 10.79 points or 0.06 percent to 17,661.83, after rising to a high of 17,727.58 in early trades.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Sony is losing almost 2 percent, while Canon is higher by 0.6 percent, Panasonic is adding 0.3 percent and Toshiba is up 0.2 percent. Automaker Toyota is adding 0.5 percent and Honda is rising almost 1 percent.

Fast Retailing is higher by 0.3 percent, while SoftBank is declining 0.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is adding 0.1 percent and JX Holdings is advancing 0.7 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are rising more than 4 percent each, while Sumitomo Realty & Development Co is higher by 4 percent.

On the flip side, Hokuetsu Kishu Paper is losing almost 7 percent, Dentsu is lower by 6 percent and Tokuyama Corp. is down more than 2 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the 108 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are in positive territory, while Shanghai and South Korea are edging lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Monday as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves after the strong gains seen in reaction to President-elect Donald Trump’s surprise victory. A lack of major U.S. economic data also kept some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of several key reports in the coming days.

While the Dow crept up 21.03 points or 0.1 percent to a new record closing high of 18,868.69, the Nasdaq fell 18.72 points or 0.4 percent to 5,218.40 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.25 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,164.20.

The major European markets all closed modestly higher on Monday. While the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index edged up by 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures were slightly lower Monday, closing at their lowest settlement since mid-September. December WTI oil fell 9 cents, or 0.2 percent, to settle at $43.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after dropping near $42 earlier in the day.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX