Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Wednesday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders continued to remain largely cautious, awaiting US Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium due later this week for more clues about the economy and interest-rate outlook. The symposium will feature meetings by global central bank leaders. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday.
The was also a sell-off by banking stocks after S&P Global Ratings downgraded several Us regional banks by one notch, citing “tough operating conditions.”
The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, extending the slight gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,100 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, boosted by gains in mining and financial stocks, partially offset by weakness in technology and energy stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 51.90 points or 0.73 percent to 7,173.50, after touching a high of 7,174.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 45.50 points or 0.62 percent to 7,391.90. Australian stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday.
Among major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is edging up 0.5 percent, while BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are adding almost 1 percent each.
Oil stocks are mostly lower. Origin Energy and Woodside Energy are edging down 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while Santos and Beach energy are losing almost 1 percent each.
In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent, Appen is declining almost 1 percent and Xero is edging down 0.3 percent. Zip is flat. WiseTech Global is plunging almost 14 percent, despite reporting an increase in full-year profit and revenues after it said acquisitions would weigh on its overall earnings margin and recover by the 2026 financial year.
Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Westpac is gaining almost 1 percent. Commonwealth Bank is flat.
Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent, Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.5 percent, Gold Road Resources is adding almost 2 percent, Resolute Mining is surging more than 5 percent and Northern Star Resources is advancing more than 1 percent.
In other news, shares in IDP Education are surging almost 8 percent after it reported a 24 percent increase in revenue.
Shares in Pepper Money are plunging more than 16 percent after the non-bank lender cut its interim dividend by one third and posted a decline in profits in the second half.
Share in Woolworths are up almost 5 percent after it posted a rise in annual profit.
In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to contract in August, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from Judo Bank revealed on Wednesday with a manufacturing PMI score of 49.4. That’s down from 49.6 in July, and it moves further beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services PMI fell to 46.7 from 47.9 and the composite PMI slipped to 47.1 from 48.2.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.644 on Wednesday.
The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Wednesday after opening in the red, extending the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 31,900 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders reacted to upbeat PMI data that showed domestic manufacturing and services activity improved in August to three-month highs.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 31,962.99, up 106.28 points or 0.33 percent, after touching a high of 31,966.40 and a low of 31,717.91 earlier. Japanese stocks ended significantly higher on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent, while Toyota is losing almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 1 percent each, while Advantest is declining more than 1 percent.
In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging down 0.1 to 0.5 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.4 percent.
Among the major exporters, Canon and Sony are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is gaining almost 2 percent and Panasonic is adding more than 2 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Kansai Electric Power is gaining more than 4 percent and Kikkoman is adding almost 4 percent, while Daikin Industries, Mazda Motor and Sumitomo Osaka Cement are up almost 3 percent each.
Conversely, there are no other major losers.
In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to contract in August, albeit at a slower rate, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Wednesday with a manufacturing PMI score of 49.7. That’s up from 49.6 in July, although it remains beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services PMI rose to 54.3 from 53.8 and the composite PMI improved to 52.6 from 52.2.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 145 yen-range on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent each, while New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each.
On the Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Tuesday following the rebound seen over the course of Monday’s session. The major averages spent most of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The major averages eventually ended the day mixed. While the Nasdaq inched up 8.28 points or 0.1 percent to 13,505.87, the S&P 500 fell 12.22 points or 0.3 percent to 4,387.55 and the Dow slid 174.86 points or 0.5 percent to 34,288.83.
Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures eased on Tuesday, extending losses from the previous session amid concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September slipped $0.37 or 0.5 percent at $80.35 a barrel.
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