Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand, are higher on Tuesday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street as optimism about the upcoming corporate earnings season helped offset worries about rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Crude oil prices rose in Asian trades after edging higher overnight.

The Australian market has drifted lower, after opening higher following the positive cues from Wall Street and higher commodity prices.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 17.60 points or 0.28 percent to 6,268.40, after touching a high of 6,306.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 14.00 points or 0.22 percent to 6,352.40. On Monday, Australian shares hit a fresh ten-and-a-half-year high.

The major miners are rising, supported by a rebound in copper prices and a recovery in Chinese iron ore futures. BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals are advancing more than 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is adding almost 1 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank down 0.2 percent.

Insurance Australia Group said its general counsel and company secretary Chris Bertuch has decided to quit, making the decision while on extended leave. The insurer’s shares are down 0.5 percent.

Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices edged higher overnight. Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are adding more than 1 percent, while Santos is up 1 percent.

Gold miners are mixed even as gold prices rose to a two-week high. Evolution Mining is adding almost 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is losing 0.5 percent.

Village Roadshow announced a A$51 million capital raising and also said it will write down the value of its Gold Coast theme parks by A$95 million as they struggle to attract customers following the fatal accident at rival Dreamworld in 2016. The theme park and cinema operator’s shares are in a trading halt.

In economic news, the latest survey from National Australian Bank revealed that business confidence in Australia was unchanged in June, with an index score of +6. That’s unchanged from the May reading. The bank also said that business conditions were steady with a score of +15, also unchanged from the previous month.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at US$0.7463, up from US$0.7460 on Monday.

The Japanese market is extending gains from the previous session, with the overnight gains on Wall Street and a weaker yen boosting investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 223.65 points or 1.01 percent to 22,275.83, after touching a high of 22,316.27 earlier. Japanese shares hit a one-week high on Monday.

The major exporters are advancing on a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 2 percent, Canon is adding more than 1 percent, Sony is rising almost 1 percent and Panasonic is up 0.3 percent.

Automaker Honda is rising more than 1 percent and Toyota is adding 0.5 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 3 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising more than 2 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is down 0.3 percent while Japan Petroleum Exploration is higher by more than 1 percent after crude oil prices edged higher.

Shares of Yahoo Japan are gaining more than 10 percent after Altaba, formerly known as Yahoo, said it has reached an agreement to sell up to 613.89 million shares of Yahoo Japan to SoftBank for 360 yen or about $3.26 per share in cash. Yahoo Japan will then repurchase its shares from Softbank via a tender offer. SoftBank’s shares are rising almost 2 percent.

Among the market’s best performers, Yaskawa Electric is rising more than 5 percent and Rakuten is higher by more than 4 percent. Sumitomo Metal Mining as well as Chiyoda Corp. are advancing almost 4 percent each.

On the flip side, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is losing almost 3 percent, while Keio Corp. and Eisai Co. are declining almost 2 percent each.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that the M2 money stock in Japan was up 3.2 percent on year in June, coming in at 1,007.2 trillion yen. That was in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous month.

The M3 money stock was up an annual 2.7 percent to 1,336.6 trillion yen – again unchanged and matching forecasts.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 110 yen-range on Tuesday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday, extending the strong upward move seen in the previous session, as traders shrugged off recent concerns about a global trade war. Traders also continued to react positively to last Friday’s Labor Department report showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of June.

The Dow soared 320.11 points or 1.3 percent to 24,776.59, the Nasdaq advanced 67.81 points or 0.9 percent to 7,756.20 and the S&P 500 climbed 24.35 points or 0.9 percent to 2,784.17.

The major European markets also moved higher on Monday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both climbed by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices were flat on Monday after strong gains in the previous session, WTI crude for August delivery inched up $0.05 to $73.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In Asian trades, crude oil added $0.18 or 0.24 percent to $74.03 a barrel.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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