Asian Markets Mostly Lower Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Monday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, as worries about slowing growth and policy tightening weighed on the markets. Traders remained cautious and chose to take some profits ahead of this week’s highly anticipated monetary policy decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to raise interest rates by at least 75 basis points as part of its ongoing efforts to combat elevated inflation. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

The Australian stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading on Monday after being in the green earlier, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 6,800 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, dragged by weakness in technology stocks, partially offset by gains in resources stocks as iron ore prices jumped over the weekend.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 13.30 points or 0.20 percent to 6,778.20, after hitting a low of 6,775.70 and a high of 6,803.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 15.90 points or 0.23 percent to 6,995.90. Australian stocks closed slightly lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group, Mineral Resources and Rio Tinto are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 percent. OZ Minerals is slipping more than 3 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed. Santos is edging down 0.2 percent, while Beach energy and Woodside Energy are losing more than 1 percent each. Origin Energy is gaining almost 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 3 percent, WiseTech Global down more than 1 percent, Xero is declining more than 2 percent, Zip is slipping almost 4 percent and Appen is plunging more than 9 percent.

Shares in EML Payments are plummeting more than 19 percent following the release of an update on its dealings with the Central Bank of Ireland.

Gold miners are mixed, Gold Road Resources is losing more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is down almost 1 percent, while Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are gaining almost 1 percent each. Resolute Mining is flat.

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

In other news, shares in Genex are skyrocketing more than 48 percent after the renewable energy firm received a bid from a consortium led by Skip Capital Infrastructure Fund and Stonepeak Partners. Skip holds 19.99 percent of Genex.

Shares in Flight Centre are gaining almost 5 percent after the travel firm said it expects a smaller loss in fiscal 2022 amid a solid rebound in travel demand.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.691 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly lower on Monday, snapping the seven-session winning streak, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 27,700 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, amid the steady surge in the fresh wave of COVID-19 infections with the BA.5 omicron variant.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,710.72, down 203.94 or 0.73 percent, after hitting a low of 27,663.16 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is flat and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.2 percent and Toyota is losing more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are edging down 0.4 to 0.5 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is losing almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging up 0.3 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is flat.

The major exporters are mostly higher, with Sony losing almost 3 percent and Canon edging down 0.5 percent, while Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are down almost 1 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Eisai is losing almost 5 percent and Nikon is declining more than 3 percent, while Yaskawa Electric, Shin-Etsu Chemical, Fujikura, M3, Recruit Holdings and Nippon Sheet Glass are down almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Meiji Holdings is gaining more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 136 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 0.7 percent each, while South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks moved to the downside over the course of the trading day on Friday after turning in a mixed performance early in the session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq led the way lower and was eventually joined in negative territory by the Dow.

The major averages all closed in the red, although the Nasdaq underperformed its counterparts by a wide margin. While the Nasdaq tumbled by 225.50 points or 1.9 percent to 11,834.11, the S&P 500 slumped 37.32 points or 0.9 percent to 3,961.63 and the Dow fell by 137.61 points or 0.4 percent at 31,899.29.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved modestly higher on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index crept up by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both inched up by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower on Friday as prices fell on concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended lower by $1.65 or 1.7 percent at $94.70 a barrel.

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