Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are mixed on Monday with some of the markets recovering after a weak start following the negative lead from Wall Street on Friday amid a continued sell-off in tech shares.

Nevertheless, investors remained cautious on worries about rising U.S.-China tensions following reports that the U.S. government is considering adding China’s largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. or SMIC to a trade blacklist.

The Australian market recovered after a weak start and is modestly higher. Investor sentiment received a boost after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Australia expects to receive its first batches of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 11.80 points or 0.20 percent to 5,937.30, after falling to a low of 5,869.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 15.30 points or 0.25 percent to 6,124.10. The Australian market tumbled on Friday after two straight days of gains to record its worst loss since early May.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are rising more than 2 percent each, while BHP Group is advancing almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are also higher even as gold prices extended losses to a third straight session on Friday. Evolution Mining is rising almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.4 percent.

In the banking space, Westpac is rising 0.6 percent and ANZ Banking is adding 0.5 percent, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are edging up 0.1 percent each.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are lower after crude oil prices tumbled on Friday. Santos is declining more than 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is lower by 0.5 percent and Oil Search is down 0.3 percent.

In the tech sector, Afterpay is losing more than 4 percent, Appen is declining more than 1 percent, WiseTech Global is edging down 0.1 percent.

In economic news, Australia will see August results for the services index from the Australian Industry Group and for job advertisements from ANZ today.

The Japanese market is declining following the negative lead from Wall Street on Friday and on worries about rising U.S.-China tensions. Investors also turned cautious ahead of the release of a slew of local economic data this week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 26.43 points or 0.11 percent to 23,179.00, after falling to a low of 23,086.89 in early trades. Japanese stocks fell on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp is losing more than 5 percent, while Fast Retailing is up 0.4 percent. The Financial Times reported that SoftBank was the “Nasdaq whale” that made huge bets on U.S. equity derivatives linked to tech companies over the past one month and contributed to a trading frenzy.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is rising 0.7 percent and Panasonic is adding 0.2 percent, while Sony is down 0.4 percent and Canon is unchanged.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is declining almost 2 percent and Advantest is down 0.4 percent. In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is higher by 0.7 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.3 percent.

Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.1 percent, while Toyota is declining 0.7 percent. In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is lower by almost 1 percent and Inpex is down 0.1 percent after crude oil prices extended recent losses on Friday.

Among the other major gainers, Fanuc Corp. is gaining more than 6 percent and Nippon Steel is rising more than 4 percent. NTT Data, JFE Holdings and Okuma Corp. are higher by almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, Sky Perfect JSAT is losing almost 5 percent and Screen Holdings is lower by more than 3 percent.

On the economic front, Japan will provide preliminary July results for its leading and coincident indexes today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 106 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan are also higher, while Shanghai, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong are all lower. Malaysia is little changed.

On Wall Street, stocks staged a significant recovery attempt over the course of the trading day on Friday, but still closed in negative territory. Technology stocks contributed to the early sell-off once again, as traders continued to cash in on the recent strength in the sector. On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing another substantial increase in U.S. employment in the month of August, although the pace of job growth continued to slow from the record spike seen in June.

The Dow declined 159.42 points or 0.6 percent to 28,133.31, the Nasdaq slumped 144.97 points or 1.3 percent to 11,313.13, and the S&P 500 slid 28.10 points or 0.8 percent to 3,426.96.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Friday. While the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both slumped by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday, extending recent losses amid continued oncerns about the outlook for gasoline demand and easing of production cuts by leading oil producers. WTI crude ended down $1.60 or nearly 4 percent at $39.77 a barrel.

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