Asian Markets Show Mixed Trend

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Thursday, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, on a continued spike in crude oil prices and as traders digested the U.S. the Labor Department’s highly anticipated report on consumer price inflation in December. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday.

While the inflation report showed that the annual rate of consumer price growth once again reached the highest level in almost 40 years, traders seemed relieved the acceleration was not even more

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,500 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with gains across most sectors, except technology. The upside is limited as traders digested the latest US inflation data and remained concerned about the sharp spike in domestic new coronavirus infections.

New South Wales records 92,264 new cases and 22 deaths on Wednesday. Victoria reported 37,169 new cases and 25 deaths. Queensland recorded 14,914 new cases and six deaths, Tasmania reported 1,100 new cases and ACT reported 1,020 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 25.50 points or 0.34 percent to 7,464.40, after touching a high of 7,487.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 25.60 points or 0.33 percent to 7,787.80. Australian markets ended notably higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining more than 3 percent, OZ Minerals is up 1.5 percent, Rio Tinto is advancing more than 2 percent, Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is rising almost 3 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Origin Energy are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Beach Energy is adding almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.5 percent each, while National Australia Bank is gaining almost 1 percent and Westpac is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Xero is edging down 0.5 percent, Afterpay is slipping almost 3 percent and Appen is losing more than 3 percent, while WiseTech Global and Zip are down almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are edging down 0.5 percent each, whileResolute Mining is declining more than 1 percent. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is advancing more than 2 percent.

Shares in Crown Resorts are surging more than 8 percent after private equity group Blackstone increased its bid for the casino operator.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.728 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is notably lower on Thursday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 staying above the 28,500 level, despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders digested the latest US inflation data and remained concerned about the resurging coronavirus cases in the country.

Japan’s daily new COVID-19 cases exceeded 13,000 on Wednesday for the first time in over four months, spurred by the fast-spreading coronavirus omicron variant.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,517.94, down 247.72 points or 0.86 percent, after hitting a low of 28,484.69 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is declining 1.5 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is adding more than 1 percent, while Honda is edging down 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 1 percent and Screen Holdings is adding more than 3 percent, while Tokyo Electron is down almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are lower. Sony, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are declining almost 1 percent each, while Canon is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the other major losers, Aeon is losing almost 5 percent and Yaskawa Electric is slipping more than 4 percent, while Olympus and Toho are declining almost 4 percent each. Seven & I Holdings and Recruit Holdings are down more than 3 percent each. Bandai Namco, Fanuc and Omron are slipping almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Pacific Metals and Sumitomo Metal Mining are gaining more than 5 percent each, while Nippon Steel and Toho Zinc are adding more than 4 percent each. JFE Holdings is up more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid-114 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each, while New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.4 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated after an early move to the upside on Wednesday but managed to finish the session modestly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed higher for the third straight day after hitting a nearly three-month intraday low on Monday.

The major averages closed well off their highs of the session but still in positive territory. The Dow inched up 38.30 points or 0.1 percent to 36,290.32, the Nasdaq edged up 34.94 points or 0.2 percent to 15,188.39 and the S&P 500 rose 13.28 points or 0.3 percent to 4,726.35.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both advanced by 0.8 percent.

Crude oil prices spiked again on Wednesday, extending the gains from the previous session. Oil prices continued to benefit from optimism about the outlook for energy demand amid indications of tight near-term supply. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery jumped $1.42 or 1.7 percent to $82.64 a barrel.

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