Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

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(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mixed on Monday despite the positive cues from Wall Street Friday amid optimism about coronavirus vaccines and a strong holiday shopping season. Worries about an escalation in U.S.-China tensions weighed on the markets after Reuters reported that the Trump administration is considering blacklisting Chinese chipmaker SMIC as well as oil and gas producer CNOOC.

The Australian market slipped into negative territory after opening higher. Worries about rising Australia-China trade tensions weighed on the market following news that Australia has threatened to take China to the World Trade Organization or WTO after China imposed a series of tariffs on Australian products.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 22.40 points or 0.34 percent to 6,578.70, after rising to a high of 6,641.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 17.00 points or 0.25 percent to 6,799.80. Australian stocks closed lower on Friday.

Shares of wine distributor Treasury Wine Estates are losing more than 8 percent as China imposed levies of up to 212 percent on Australian wine exports.

The big four banks – ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank – are lower in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.2 percent.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is declining 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly lower after crude oil prices declined on Friday. Woodside Petroleum is lower by 0.3 percent and Oil Search is down 0.2 percent, while Santos is adding 0.5 percent.

Gold miners are weak after gold prices fell more than 1 percent on Friday. Evolution Mining is losing more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.6 percent.

Qantas Airways has confirmed it will cut 2,000 more jobs as it moves to outsource ground handling operations at ten Australian airports. Shares of the airline are losing more than 1 percent.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that company profits in Australia were up a seasonally adjusted 3.2 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2020. That was shy of expectations for a gain of 4.5 percent following the 15 percent spike in September. Profits were up 18.6 percent on year.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said that private sector credit in Australia was unchanged on a monthly basis for the second straight month in October, on Monday. On a yearly basis, credit was up 1.8 percent after rising 2.0 percent in the previous month.

The Japanese market is little changed after rising in early trade following the positive cues from Wall Street. Investors turned cautious as they digested a raft of Japanese economic data and the continued surge in coronavirus cases in Japan.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 23.09 points or 0.09 percent to 26,667.80, after touching a high of 26,834.20 in early trades. The Japanese market rose for the fourth straight session on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is rising almost 2 percent and Fast Retailing is adding 0.6 percent. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron and Advantest are advancing more than 1 percent each.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Canon is losing more than 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is lower by 1 percent and Sony is down 0.3 percent, while Panasonic is adding 0.4 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down almost 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is losing more than 1 percent and Honda is lower by almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Sumco Corp. is gaining almost 8 percent, while Z Holdings and M3 are rising almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Tokai Carbon and Tobu Railway are losing more than 4 percent each. Shinsei Bank, West Japan Railway, Tokyu Corp., Takashimaya Co. and Toyo Seikan Group are all lower by more than 3 percent each.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that industrial output in Japan climbed a seasonally adjusted 3.8 percent on month in October. That was roughly in line with expectations and down from the 3.9 percent gain in September.

The value of retail sales in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent on month in October, coming in at 12.430 trillion yen. That beat expectations for a 0.1 percent increase following the 0.1 percent decline in September.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai is advancing more than 1 percent, while New Zealand, Taiwan and Malaysia are also higher. South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia are lower.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 103 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher in an abbreviated session on Friday amid optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, although some questions have been raised about the efficacy of the vaccine. AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg the British pharmaceutical giant is likely to run a new global trial of the vaccine candidate. Nonetheless, overall trading activity was subdued in the shortened trading session, as many traders remained away from their desks following the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

The Nasdaq jumped 111.44 points or 0.9 percent to 12,205.85, while the Dow edged up 37.90 points or 0.1 percent to 29,910.37 and the S&P 500 rose 8.70 points or 0.2 percent to 3,638.35.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Friday, but still managed to post a strong weekly gain. WTI crude for January ended down $0.18 or about 0.4 percent at $45.53 a barrel.

A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine

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