Asian Markets Mostly Lower Amid Cautious Trades

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Wednesday, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, as traders remain concerned over an economic slowdown and the outlook for interest rates. They remain cautious ahead of the US Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the central bank’s annual Jackson Hole economic symposium in Wyoming on Friday, where central bankers across the globe will update their views on inflation and policy outlook. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday.

In a research note, Chris Senyek, chief investment strategist at Wolfe Research, suggested Fed Chair Jerome Powell will sound a more hawkish tone in his comments at the conference.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, recouping some of the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 again moving above the 7,000 mark, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, lifted by strength in materials and energy stocks amid a rebound commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 45.70 points or 0.66 percent to 7,007.50, after touching a high of 7,013.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 47.60 points or 0.66 percent to 7,246.80. Australian stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are gaining more than 2 percent each, while OZ Minerals is adding more than 1 percent, Mineral Resources is advancing almost 3 percent and Rio Tinto is edging up 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Santos is gaining more than 1 percent and Woodside Energy is advancing almost 3 percent, while Beach energy and Origin Energy are adding almost 2 percent each.

In the tech space, Xero is edging up 0.5 percent, Zip is adding more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is soaring almost 10 percent after reporting a surge in full-year profit, while Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent and Appen is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank and Westpac are edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each.

Among gold miners, Resolute Mining is losing almost 2 percent, Evolution Mining is edging down 0.4 percent, Northern Star Resources is slipping more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is down almost 1 percent. Gold Road Resources is gaining more than 1 percent.

In other news, shares in EML Payments are plummeting almost 17 percent after the fintech firm discovered a merchants fraud in its debt processing.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.690 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday after opening in the green, extending the losses in the previous four sessions, with the Nikkei 225 falling below the 28,400 level, following the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, dragged by weakness in technology stocks, even as traders remain concerned over an economic slowdown and the outlook for interest rates.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,359.10, down 93.65 points or 0.33 percent, after hitting a low of 28,282.21 and a high of 28,515.61 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.3 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is edging down 0.1 percent, Advantest is losing almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is slipping almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding more than 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony, Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are edging down 0.1 to 0.5 percent each, while Panasonic is flat.

Among the other major losers, Konami Group is losing almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Hino Motors is surging more than 5 percent, while Tokyo Electric Power, Toyota Tsusho and Toho Zinc are gaining almost 4 percent each. JGC Holdings, Olympus and IHI are adding more than 3 percent each, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is advancing almost 3 percent.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong and China are down 1.4 and 1.1 percent, respectively, while South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are lower by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each. are lower by between 0.3 and 1.0 percent each. New Zealand and Indonesia are up 0.1 and 0.4 percent, respectively.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday, losing ground for a third straight session, as worries about economic slowdown and tighter monetary policy weighed on sentiment. Data showing U.S. business activity dropping for a second straight month and at the fastest pace since May 2020 also weighed.

Among the major averages, the Dow ended down 154.02 points or 0.47 percent at 32,909.59 and the S&P 500 settled lower by 9.26 points or 0.22 percent at 4,128.73. The Nasdaq outperformed and ended flat at 12,381.30, less than 0.3 points down from the previous close.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 drifted down 0.61 percent, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 dropped 0.27 percent and 0.26 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Tuesday with traders weighing the prospects of OPEC and allies cutting output to support prices in the event of Iranian crude entering the market. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September jumped $3.38 or 3.7 percent at $93.74 a barrel.

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