The Nikkei 225 is just below the 29,100 level, the Australian stock market is relatively flat, Taiwan is up 1 percent, while China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent
Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday after broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday. The markets remain tense and cautious amid the surge in Covid cases in the region, particularly in Japan and India, as well as the possible related lockdowns in economic activity in several markets. Traders also await fresh cues from the Fed and BoJ later this week. Asian markets finished mixed on Friday.
The Australian stock market is relatively flat in choppy trading on Monday, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 hovering below the 7,100 level after broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday. The losses in gold miners and energy stocks are offset by the gains in financial and materials stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 3.00 points or 0.04 percent to 7,057.70, after reaching a high of 7,075.20 and low of 7,048.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 1.30 points or 0.02 percent to 7,319.40. Australian stocks ended marginally higher or flat on Friday.
Oil stocks are lower, with oil Search and Santos flat, while Woodside Petroleum is inching down 0.2 percent. The big four banks are higher. National Australia Bank is advancing more than 1 percent and Westpac is gaining nearly 1 percent, while ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are inching up 0.3 percent each. Westpac reported that its first-half profit will take a $282 million hit from provisions for refunds and litigation, write-downs and various other ‘notable items.’ The lender also added that it had made a $288 million gain on the revaluation of its minority stake in crypto-currency exchange Coinbase.
Gold miners are down after gold prices softened on Friday. Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are declining more than 2 percent, while Star Resources is down nearly 2 percent.
Japanese stock market is modestly higher after recouping early losses on Monday, with the Nikkei 225 just below the 29,100 level, following broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday. However, traders continue to be worried about the rising Covid cases and the related third state of emergency imposed in Tokyo and the three western Japan prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo since Friday.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index ended the morning session at 29,095.36, up 74.73 points or 0.26 percent, after reaching a low of 28,896.37 earlier. Japanese shares finished lower on Friday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is advancing more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is flat. Among automakers, Honda is adding nearly 2 percent and Toyota is inching up 0.1 percent.
The major exporters are mixed. Panasonic is advancing nearly 1 percent and Canon is nearly 2 percent higher, while Sony is declining nearly 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down more than 1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is advancing more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is inching up 0.4 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is inching up 0.1 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is also inching up 0.4 percent and Mizuho Financial is advancing more than 1 percent.
Among the other major gainers, ANA Holdings and Rakuten are adding more than 4 percent each, while Central Japan Railway, Mitsui E&S Holdings and West Japan Railway are gaining nearly 3 percent each. Screen Holdings and IHI are up more than 2 percent each. Conversely, M3 is dropping more than 6 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo and Chugai Pharmaceutical are down almost 3 percent each. Nichirei, Kao, JTEKT and Fujitsu are losing nearly 2 percent each.
Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is up 1 percent, while China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are higher by between 0.1 and 0.6 percent. Meanwhile, Indonesia is bucking the trend and is down 0.6 percent. Markets in New Zealand are shut for ANZAC Day.
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