Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday amid cautious trading, with rising bond yields offset by rising crude oil prices and following mixed cues overnight from Wall Street as investors are cautious after a hedge fund default in the US. The new coronavirus uptick in the U.S. and lockdown measures in Europe is adding pressure on investor sentiments. Also, investors are reluctant to make significant moves due to a lack of positive triggers. Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday.
The Australian stock market is lower on Tuesday after giving up early gains, extending the losses from the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 6,800 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. The market is weighed down by miners, financials and energy stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 31.10 points or 0.46 percent to 6,768.40, after touching a high of 6,836.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 35.80 points or 0.51 percent to 7,000.60. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Monday.
Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is losing almost 2 percent and BHP Group is declining almost 1 percent, while OZ Minerals and Fortescue Metals are down more than 1 percent each.
Among oil stocks, Oil Search is losing almost 1 percent, Santos is edging down 0.2 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.1 percent and Origin Energy is gaining almost 1 percent.
Santos has given the go-ahead to its $4.7 billion Barossa gas project north of Darwin after its plans were put on hold last year amid the coronavirus-driven market crash.
Among the big four banks, Westpac is edging down 0.3 percent and National Australia Bank is down almost 1 percent, while ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are flat.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay and Appen are edging down 0.2 percent each, while WiseTech Global is gaining almost 2 percent.
Gold miners are losing after gold prices drifted lower. Newcrest Mining is down almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is edging down 0.2 percent, while Northern Star Resources is declining more than 2 percent.
Shares in AGL are gaining almost 2 percent after the power giant said it will split off its emissions-intensive coal- and gas-fired power plants from its retailing business as the shift to renewable energy accelerates.
Shares in Digital Wine Ventures are skyrocketing almost 21 percent after its online alcohol marketplace announced a foundation agreement with premium beverage distributor Bibendum Wines.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.765 on Tuesday.
The Japanese stock market is modestly lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, with the benchmark Nikkei index below the 29,400 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors are also digesting mixed reports on Japan’s unemployment rate and retail sales for February.
According to media reports, the weekly number of newly confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Japan has exceeded 10,000 for the first time in six weeks.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,369.16, down 15.36 points or 0.05 percent, after touching a high of 29,478.20 earlier. Japanese shares closed higher on Monday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is up more than 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is down almost 1 percent and Toyota is losing almost 3 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining more than 1 percent each. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down almost 2 percent.
The major exporters weak, with Sony and Panasonic losing almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric declining almost 3 percent and Canon is edging down 0.2 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Nippon Yusen, Mitsui OSK Lines and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are gaining more than 4 percent each, while ANA Holdings and Komatsu are rising more than 3 percent each.
Conversely, Rakuten is losing almost 4 percent and Mitsui Chemicals is down almost 3 percent. Osaka Gas, Meiji Holdings, Haseko and Odakyu Electric Railway are declining more than 2 percent each.
In economic news, the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.9 percent in February, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Tuesday. That was unchanged from the January reading and was below forecasts for 3.0 percent. The number of unemployed was flat at 2.03 million in February, while employment rose by 30 thousand to 66.97 million. The unemployment rate was at 2.4 percent in February 2020.
Meanwhile, the total value of retail sales in Japan was down 1.5 percent on year in February, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Tuesday – coming in at 11.628 trillion yen. That beat forecasts for a decline of 2.8 percent following the 2.4 percent drop in the previous month. This was the third straight month of decrease in retail trade, amid the prolonged COVID-19 disruptions. On a monthly basis, retail sales jumped 3.1 percent, the most since June 2020, after dropping 1.7 percent in January.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 109 yen-range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Hong Kong are gaining 1 percent, while New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and China are higher by between 0.2 and 0.6 percent. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Malaysia are bucking the trend and are edging down.
On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed after a somewhat volatile session on Monday as the mood remained a bit cautious amid news about a large hedge fund defaulting on a margin call. US hedge fund Archegos Capital reportedly failed to meet its margin call obligations, prompting banks to sell more than $20 billion worth of shares in margin call on Friday.
The major averages ended mixed. The Dow, which hit a fresh high at 33,259.00, ended the session at 33,171.37 with a gain of 98.49 points or 0.3 percent. The Nasdaq settled at 13,059.65, losing 7.08 points or 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500 edged down 3.45 points or 0.09 percent to 3,971.09.
Meanwhile, the major European markets ended higher on Monday. While Germany’s DAX climbed 0.47 percent, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.45 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 ended 0.07 percent down.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Monday amid concerns about possible supply disruptions, but news about freeing the container ship that had blocked the Suez canal helped limit oil’s upside. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $0.59 or 1 percent at $61.56 a barrel.
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