Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday, following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street, reflecting concerns about acceleration in the rate of inflation and potential monetary policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Traders are also cautious and refraining from making major moves amid the continued surge in coronavirus cases in most markets in the region, particularly in India and Japan. Asian markets closed sharply lower on Tuesday.
The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday, extending the significant losses of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark near 14-month highs, following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street. Traders are also digesting yesterday’s Federal budget 2021 and are cautious of rising inflation rates as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 44.60 points or 0.63 percent to 7,052.40, after hitting a low of 7,016.50 in early trades. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 41.60 points or 0.57 percent to 7,290.00. Australian stocks ended significantly lower on Tuesday.
Among major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.1 percent, Rio Tinto is adding 0.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is up more than 1 percent, while OZ Minerals is losing almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Appen is gaining more than 2 percent and WiseTech Global is adding almost 2 percent, while Afterpay is up almost 4 percent.
Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are losing almost 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.4 percent.
Commonwealth Bank reported third-quarter cash profits that doubled from last year to $2.4 billion, as Australia’s biggest bank cut provisions for bad debts in response to the improving economy.
Gold miners are mostly higher after the gold prices increased. Evolution Mining is edging down 0.4 percent, while Northern Star Resources is gaining more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is up almost 4 percent. Newcrest Mining is flat.
Oil stocks were lower after crude oil prices declined. Oil Search is losing more than 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is down almost 1 percent and Santos is declining more than 1 percent.
In other news, shares in carsales.com were halted after the vehicle classifieds site confirmed it is raising $600 million to fund the purchase of a 49 percent stake in US branded marketplace platform Trader Interactive.
Shares in CSR are surging more than 6 percent after the building materials firm reported a 17 percent growth in full-year profit to $146.1 million and reinstated a final dividend of 14.5 cents. The company will also pay a special 9.5 cent dividend. However, Revenue slipped 4 per cent to $2.12 billion.
In economic news, the total number of building permits issued in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 17.4 percent on month in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday – coming in at 23,176. That came in line with expectations following the 20.1 percent rise in February.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.781 on Wednesday.
The Japanese stock market is modestly lower after paring early gains on Wednesday, extending the sharp 3.1 percent loss of the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index above the 28,400 level, following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street on inflation fears. Traders also continue to be cautious amid the accelerating daily coronavirus infection rates caused by highly contagious variants of the virus.
According to the Health Ministry, the number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms in Japan rose to a record 1,176.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,439.52, down 169.07 points or 0.59 percent, after touching a high of 28,831.03 and hitting a low of 28,329.01 in early trades. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 3 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is up more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 2 percent and Toyota is down almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is losing almost 2 percent, Advantest is edging down 0.3 percent and Screen Holdings is edging down 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are losing almost 1 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is down more than 1 percent.
Among the major exporters, Panasonic, Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are edging down 0.3 percent each, while Canon is losing more than 1 percent.
Among the other major losers, Mitsui E&S Holdings is plunging almost 14 percent, Pacific Metals in losing more than 13 percent, Nissan Motor is down more than 12 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is declining more than 10 percent. Kobe Steel is down more than 9 percent, Yokogawa Electric is losing almost 9 percent and Marui Group is declining more than 8 percent, while Amada and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are down almost 7 percent each.
Conversely, Yamaha, Sharp and Nichirei are gaining almost 5 percent each, while Tosoh is adding more than 4 percent. Hitachi, Tokai Carbon, Nissan Chemical and NSK are up more than 2 percent each.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 108 yen-range on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is plummeting 5.0 percent and South Korea is down 1.3 percent, while New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each. Hong Kong and China are bucking the trend and are up 0.2 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday, extending the pullback seen over the course of the previous session. The Nasdaq hit its worst intraday level in well over a month in early trading but rebounded to end the day only modestly lower.
After plunging as much as 2.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed down just 12.43 points or 0.1 percent at 13,389.43. Meanwhile, the Dow tumbled 473.66 points or 1.4 percent to 34,269.16 and the S&P 500 slid 36.33 points or 0.9 percent to 4,152.10.
The major European markets also showed significant moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index plunged by 2.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index slumped by 1.9 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures settled higher Tuesday following a report from OPEC that said demand is expected to rise by 5.95 million barrels per day or 6.6 percent this year. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended up by $0.36 or 0.6 percent at $65.28 a barrel.
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