Asian Markets Trade Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets trading mostly lower on Monday, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, amid rising prospect of tighter monetary policy by the U.S. Federal Reserve to rein in high inflation after U.S. jobless claims fell to their lowest level in 52 years. The worries about the economic impact of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine also weighed on market sentiment. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,400 level, following the mostly higher cues from Wall Street on Friday, with gains in financial, materials and energy amid strong commodity prices, partially offset by weakness in gold miners and technology stocks.

Meanwhile, traders continue to monitor the lingering geopolitical situation amid the continued escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the related increasing sanctions on Russia.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 32.50 points or 0.44 percent to 7,438.70, after touching a high of 7,446.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 26.50 points or 0.35 percent to 7,716.40. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Rio Tinto is adding more than 2 percent, OZ Minerals is up more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is advancing 2.5 percent.

Oil stocks are higher, with Beach energy and Origin Energy gaining almost 1 percent each, while Santos is edging up 0.3 percent and Woodside Petroleum is flat.

Among tech stocks, Appen is losing almost 2 percent, Block is slipping almost 4 percent, Xero is down more than 3 percent, WiseTech Global is slipping 2.5 percent and Zip is sliding more than 2 percent.

Gold miners are weak. Gold Road Resources is losing almost 1 percent, Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.4 percent, Resolute Mining is declining 1.5 percent and Evolution Mining is slipping more than 1 percent. Northern Star Resources is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are gaining almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank is adding more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.752 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Monday, snapping the nine-session winning streak, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 28,000 mark, following the mostly higher cues from Wall Street on Friday, with losses across most sectors as traders booked profits after the recent winning streak. Traders also continued to monitor the lingering geopolitical situation amid the escalation of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis and the increasing sanctions on Russia.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,987.20, down 162.64 points or 0.58 percent, after hitting a low of 27,812.67 earlier. Japanese shares ended slightly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down almost 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.2 percent, while Toyota is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is declining more than 1 percent, Tokyo Electron is losing almost 1 percent and Screen Holdings is down almost 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down more than 1 percent, while Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.3 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic losing more than 1 percent and Sony edging down 0.4 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are edging up 0.3 percent each.

Among the other major losers, Pacific Metals is losing 6.5 percent, Dowa Holdings is declining more than 5 percent and Toho Zinc is down almost 5 percent, while CyberAgent and Sumitomo Metal Mining are declining more than 4 percent each. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, M3 and Shin-Etsu Chemical are slipping more than 3 percent each.

Conversely Mitsubishi Logistics is gaining more than 4 percent, while Yokohama Rubber, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust and ANA Holdings are adding almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 122 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is plunging 1.6 percent and New Zealand is losing 1.0 percent, while Malaysia, China and South Korea are lower by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent each. Hong Kong is surging 1.5 percent, while Indonesia and Singapore are up 0.1 and 0.3 percent, respectively.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Friday after moving sharply higher over the course of the previous session. The major averages fluctuated as the day progressed before ending the session mixed.

The Dow rose 153.30 points or 0.4 percent to 34,861.24 and the S&P 500 climbed 22.90 points or 0.5 percent to 4,543.06. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq recovered from its worst levels of the day but still closed down 22.54 points or 0.2 percent at 14,169.30.

Meanwhile, European stocks saw modest strength on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index ended the session nearly unchanged, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both edged up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices rallied Friday afternoon, lifted by news about a missile strike at an oil storage depot in Saudi Arabian city Jeddah. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $1.56 or 1.4 percent at $113.90 a barrel; they gained nearly 12 percent in the week.

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