Asian Markets Mixed In Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are mixed on Monday in thin holiday trading, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders picked up stocks at a bargain after last week’s sell off amid cautious trading. Traders continue to be concerned about persistent inflation, looming interest rate hikes, Ukraine war and the COVID-19 lockdowns in China. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below above the 7,100 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with gains across all sectors, particularly a rebound in technology stocks amid bargain hunting after the recent sell-off.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 19.30 points or 0.27 percent to 7,094.40, after touching a high of 7,149.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 23.90 points or 0.33 percent to 7,331.60. Australian stocks closed sharply higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is edging down 0.4 percent and OZ Minerals is declining almost 1 percent, while Mineral Resources is gaining almost 3 percent. Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are edging up 0.4 percent each.

Oil stocks are higher, Woodside Petroleum is gaining more than 1 percent, Origin Energy is edging up 0.2 percent, Beach energy is adding 1.5 percent and Santos is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero is gaining almost 5 percent, WiseTech Global is adding almost 3 percent, Appen is surging more than 5 percent, Afterpay owner Block is soaring almost 6 percent and Zip is up more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are higher. Gold Road Resources is gaining almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.5 percent, while Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are adding more than 1 percent each. Resolute Mining is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking is edging up 0.2 percent and Westpac is adding more than 2 percent.

In other news, shares in Brambles are soaring more than 11 percent after news that the pallet maker is considering an unsolicited takeover offer of about $20 billion from European private equity giant CVC Capital Partners.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.689 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying below the 26,500 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders looked to buy stocks at a bargain after the recent sell-off, even as concerns remain about persistent inflation, looming interest rate hikes, Ukraine war and the COVID-19 lockdowns in China.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,492.29, up 64.64 or 0.24 percent, after touching a high of 26,836.96 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 4 percent, while Toyota is edging up 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining 1.5 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding more than 1 percent and Screen Holdings is up almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.4 percent, while Mizuho Financial is losing more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are higher, with Sony and Mitsubishi Electric gaining almost 2 percent each, while Panasonic is adding almost 1 percent and Canon is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among the other major gainers, NTN is soaring almost 15 percent, Fujikura is surging more than 8 percent, Mazda Motor is advancing almost 7 percent, NTT Data is gaining almost 6 percent and Trend Micro is adding almost 5 percent, while KDDI, Nissan Chemical and Sumco are up more than 4 percent each. Recruit Holdings, Taisei, JGC Holdings, M3 and Japan Post are rising almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, Dowa Holdings is plunging almost 13 percent and Yamaha Motor is sliding more than 9 percent, while Toho Zinc, Sumitomo Chemical and Nisshin Seifun Group are slipping almost 9 percent each. T&D Holdings is down 6.5 percent, while Mitsubishi Materials and Mitsui E&S are declining almost 6 percent each. Olympus, Citizen Watch and NEXON are losing more than 4 percent each, while Mitsui Chemicals, Comsys Holdings, Mitsubishi Chemical and Tokyu are falling almost 4 percent each.

In economic news, producer prices in Japan spiked a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent on month in April, the Bank of Japan said on Monday. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.8 percent and was up from the upwardly revised 0.9 percent reading in March (originally 0.8 percent).

On a yearly basis, producer prices surged 10.0 percent – again topping forecasts for 9.4 percent and up from the upwardly revised 9.7 percent increase in the previous month (originally 9.5 percent). Export prices were up 1.6 percent on month and 7.9 percent on year in April, the bank said, while import prices surged 5.6 percent on month and 29.7 percent on year.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 128 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand and Taiwan are up 0.4 and 0.5 percent, respectively, while South Korea, China and Hong Kong are lower by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each. Markets in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand are closed for Wesak Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher during trading on Friday after ending the previous session little changed. With the strong upward move on the day, the major averages partly offset the sell-off seen over the past several sessions.

The major averages threatened an afternoon pullback but managed to hold on to strong gains. The Dow jumped 466.36 points or 1.5 percent to 32,196.66, the Nasdaq spiked 434.04 points or 3.8 percent to 11,805.00 and the S&P 500 surged 93.81 points or 2.4 percent to 4,023.89.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index jumped by 2.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index soared by 2.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose sharply Friday, lifting the most active crude futures contracts on fears of supply shortage. West Texas International Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $4.36 or 4.1 percent at $110.49 a barrel.

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