Asian stock markets mostly lower on Wednesday, following the mixed cues from global markets overnight, as data showing a bigger than expected increase in U.S. retail sales in September raised concerns the US Fed will keep interest rates higher for longer or even announce a rate hike this year. Higher bond yields and geopolitical concerns in the Middle East also kept investors cautious. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday.
Adding to the gains in the previous session, Australian shares are slightly higher on Wednesday, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark, following the mixed cues from global markets overnight, with small gains in energy, mining and financial stocks nearly offset by weakness in technology stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 1.10 points or 0.02 percent to 7,057.20, after touching a high of 7,078.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 0.40 points or 0.01 percent to 7,244.00. Australian stocks ended modestly higher on Tuesday.
Among major miners, Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are edging up 0.2 to 0.4 percent each, while Mineral Resources is losing more than 1 percent.
Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy and Santos are edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each, while Woodside Energy is gaining almost 1 percent. Origin Energy is losing almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, WiseTech Global is losing almost 1 percent, Xero is slipping almost 3 percent and Appen is declining more than 1 percent, while Afterpay owner Block is gaining almost 2 percent. Zip is flat.
Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is gaining almost 1 percent, while Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.1 to 0.2 percent each. Westpac is edging down 0.1 percent.
Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is gaining more than 2 percent, Gold Road Resources is advancing more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding almost 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is losing almost 3 percent and Newcrest Mining is plunging almost 7 percent.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.637 on Wednesday.
Reversing the gains in the previous session, the Japanese share market trading modestly lower on Wednesday, following the mixed cues from global markets overnight. The Nikkei 225 fell below the 32,000 mark, with losses in index heavyweights and exporters partially offset by gains in financial stocks. Traders also remain cautious ahead of key economic data from China, Japan’s top trading partner.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 31,903.75, down 136.54 points or 0.43 percent, after hitting a low of 31,866.95 earlier. Japanese stocks ended sharply higher on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.3 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is gaining more than 1 percent and Screen Holdings is adding more than 2 percent.
In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is gaining more than 2 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is up more than 1 percent.
Among the major exporters, Panasonic is losing almost 2 percent, Sony is down almost 1 percent, Canon is edging down 0.4 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent.
Among other major gainers, Daiichi Sankyo is losing more than 4 percent.
Conversely, Keisei Electric Railway is plunging almost 6 percent, while Pacific Metals, Sumitomo Pharma, Concordia Financial and Shionogi & Co. are losing more than 3 percent each. Resona Holdings, T&D Holdings and Inpex are declining almost 3 percent each.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 149 yen-range on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is down 1.1 percent, while China, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia are lower by between 0.2 and 0.6 percent each. Hong Kong, South Korea and Indonesia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.3 percent each.
On the Wall Street, stocks retreated and eventually ended on a mixed note on Tuesday after a weak start and a subsequent recovery that resulted in a brief spell in positive territory. Investors digested the data on U.S. retail sales and industrial production, and continued to track the developments on the geopolitical front.
Among the major averages, the Dow ended up 13.11 points or 0.04 percent at 33,997.65. The S&P 500 edged down 0.1 percent to 4,373.20, while the Nasdaq closed lower by 34.24 points or 0.25 percent at 13,533.75.
Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.58 percent, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.09 percent and 0.11 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures settled flat on Tuesday after a lackluster session as investors continued to track the developments on the geopolitical front and weighed the outlook for global demand and supply. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November ended at $86.66 a barrel, unchanged from the previous close.
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