Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Monday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders remain cautious and assess the impact of the banking sector turmoil in the US and Europe. The head of the International Monetary Fund warned of increased risks to financial stability. Asian markets closed mostly lower Friday.

The Australian stock market is slightly higher on Monday, recouping the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with gains in gold miners and technology stocks partially offset by losses in energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 9.60 points or 0.14 percent to 6,964.90, after touching a high of 6,989.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 10.90 points or 0.15 percent to 7,148.50. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto and Mineral Resources are losing almost 1 percent each, while BHP Group is edging down 0.4 percent. Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent and OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Woodside Energy is losing more than 2 percent, Santos is declining almost 1 percent and Beach energy is down more than 1 percent, while Origin Energy is gaining almost 3 percent.

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

Gold miners are higher. Gold Road Resources and Newcrest Mining are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Evolution Mining is gaining almost 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is adding more than 1 percent. Resolute Mining is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.2 percent, while ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.665 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher is choppy trading on Monday, recouping some of the losses in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,400 level, following the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders remained cautious and continued to assess the impact of the banking sector crisis in the US and Europe.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,471.17, up 85.92 or 0.31 percent, after touching a high of 27,488.85 earlier. Japanese shares ended slightly lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.2 percent and Toyota is also edging up 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing almost 2 percent, Advantest are edging down 0.5 to 0.3 percent and Tokyo Electron is down more than 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down almost 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is edging down 0.2 percent.

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

Among the other major gainers, NEXON is gaining almost 3 percent.

Conversely, CyberAgent is losing almost 3 percent.

In economic news, producer prices in Japan were up 1.8 percent on year in February, the Bank of Japan said on Monday. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.5 percent and was up from 1.6 percent in the previous month. On a monthly basis, producer prices rose 0.2 percent – also topping expectations for a gain of 0.1 percent following the 0.3 percent decline in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 130 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is slipping 1.8 percent, while China, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia are lower by between 0.3 and 0.6 percent each. New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia are higher by between 0.2 and 0.8 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks came under pressure early in the session on Friday but staged a significant turnaround over the course of the trading day. The major averages climbed well off their lows of the session and into positive territory.

The major averages all moved to the upside as the day progressed, adding to the gains posted on Thursday. The Dow climbed 132.28 points or 0.4 percent to 32,237.53, the Nasdaq rose 36.56 points or 0.3 percent to 11,823.96 and the S&P 500 advanced 22.27 points or 0.6 percent to 3,970.99.

Meanwhile, the major European markets showed significant moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both tumbled by 1.7 percent.

Crude oil prices fell on Friday, extending losses from the previous session amid concerns that rising interest rates might hurt growth and result in a drop in energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended lower by $0.70 or 1 percent at $69.26 a barrel.

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