(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday with a few closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, following broadly positive signals from Wall Street on Friday, with the rally in crude oil prices continuing and traders continuing to pick up stocks In a bargain after a big sell-off earlier last week amid hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve.
Meanwhile, concerns about the impact of the rapidly spreading viral Omicron variant on global economic growth continue to weigh on market sentiment. Asian markets mostly closed higher on Friday.
Expectations of monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve were also slightly damped after data from the US on core consumer price growth, personal income and spending.
Core consumer price growth accelerated to a 40-year high in December. This reading of inflation, which was said to be favored by the Fed, showed the annual growth rate accelerating to reach the highest level since September 1983. The report also showed that personal spending fell.
The Australian share market fell slightly on Monday, giving up some sharp gains in the previous session, with the S&P/ASX 200 index dropping below the 7,000 mark, despite broadly positive signs from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness in Financial sector and mining stocks were partially offset by strength in technology stocks.
Meanwhile, merchants remain concerned about local Covid-19 cases, even though daily new cases are steadily declining. New South Wales recorded 13,026 new cases and 27 deaths on Sunday, and Victoria also recorded 10,053 new cases and eight deaths. Queensland 7,462 new infections and three deaths. The ACT reported 537 new cases, South Australia reported 1,505 new cases, the Northern Territory reported 812 new cases, and Tasmania reported 504 new cases.
Traders are also cautiously looking forward to the RBA’s first monetary policy meeting of the year on Tuesday for signs of higher interest rates and the economy.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 loses 26.30 points, or 0.38 percent, to 6,961.80, after hitting a low of 6,932.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries index fell 12.60 points, or 0.17 percent, to 7,253.70. On Friday, the Australian share market closed sharply higher.
Among the major miners, Rio Tinto and BHP Group are losing more than 2 percent each, while Mineral Resources is gaining more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is up 0.5 percent. OZ Minerals is down more than 3 percent. Oil stocks were up, with Woodside Petroleum and Santos up 0.5 percent each, while Origin Energy gained more than 2 percent and shore capacity increased nearly 4 percent.
Among technology stocks, Appen and WiseTech Global each gain nearly 4 percent, while Zip is up 7.5 percent, Zero adds 2.5 percent and Block is 6.5 percent.
Mixed gold miners. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are up 0.3 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is down about 4 percent, Northern Star Resources is down more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is down more than 4 percent.
Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac lost nearly 1 per cent each, while National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking fell more than 1 per cent each.
Ansell shares fell more than 15 percent after the personal protective equipment maker lowered its full-year rating.
In economic news, Australia’s total private sector credit rose 0.8 percent month-on-month in December, the Reserve Bank of Australia said on Monday, down from 0.9 percent in November. On an annual basis, credit rose 7.2 percent, accelerating from 6.6 percent in the previous month. Residential credit increased by 0.7 percent on a monthly basis and 7.4 percent on a yearly basis, while personal credit decreased by 0.8 percent on a monthly basis and 3.8 percent on an annual basis, and business credit rose by 1.1 percent on a monthly basis and 8.4 percent cent on an annual basis. Broad funds gained 1.5 percent on a monthly basis and 9.5 percent on an annual basis.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at $0.701 on Monday.
The Japanese stock market posted a slight gain on Monday, extending sharp gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 index just below the 27,000 mark, following broadly positive signals from Wall Street on Friday, with technology shares leading.
Meanwhile, traders also remain concerned about the sudden rise in domestic coronavirus cases, as Japan topped 70,000 new cases per day for the fourth consecutive day and hit record highs in the past two weeks or so. The majority of the 47 prefectures are under a semi-state of emergency, with Tokyo expected to enter a state of emergency related to the virus soon.
The Nikkei 225 benchmark index closed the morning session at 26981.89, up 264.55 points, or 0.99 percent, after touching the highest level at 26995.65 and the lowest level at 26541.65 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply higher on Friday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining nearly 4 percent, while operator Uniqlo Fast Retailing is losing nearly 1 percent. Among the automakers, Honda is losing nearly 1 percent, while Toyota is up 0.5 percent. In technology, Advantest is gaining nearly 4 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding nearly 2 percent, and screen contract is up 1.5 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial lost more than 2 percent, while Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial fell 1.5 percent each.
The state of the two major exporters was mixed, with Panasonic and Canon shares rising 0.5 percent, while Sony’s profits rose more than 3 percent. Mitsubishi Electric is losing nearly 2 percent.
Among other major gainers, Alpine Alpine rose 18 percent and Z Holdings increased 5.5 percent, while Olympus and Recruit Holdings added 4.5 percent. Japan Steel Works and M earn more than 4 per cent each, while TDK, Japan Exchange Group and Minebea Mitsumi add nearly 4 per cent each. Conversely, Chubu Electric Power is down more than 9 percent, Omron is down nearly 8 percent, Tokyo Electric Power is down more than 6 percent, and Seiko Epson is down more than 4 percent.
The value of Japan’s retail sales rose 1.4 percent year on year in December, to 14.656 trillion yen, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Monday. That missed expectations for an increase of 2.7 percent, down from 1.9 percent in November. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, retail sales were down 1.0 percent after rising by an upwardly revised 1.3 percent in November (originally 1.2 percent). In the fourth quarter of 2021, retail sales increased 1.4% y/y and 2.0% q/q; For the full year of 2021, retail sales were up 1.9 percent.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Monday that Japan’s industrial output also rose by 2.7 percent on an annual basis in December. This was less than expectations for an increase of 3 percent and down from 5.1 percent in November. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, industrial production fell 1.0 percent, again missing expectations for a 0.8 percent decline after rising 7.0 percent the previous month.
In the currency market, the US dollar is trading in an average range of 115 yen on Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore are higher, with between 0.6 and 0.8 percent each. Indonesia bucked the trend and fell 0.2 percent. Malaysia is relatively flat. South Korea, Taiwan and China are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.
On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant turnaround throughout the trading session on Friday, continuing the rollercoaster ride seen throughout the week. The major averages came under pressure to start the day but rebounded strongly to end the day sharply higher.
All major averages posted solid gains for the day, with the higher-tech Nasdaq leading the way. While the Nasdaq rose 417.79 points, or 3.1 percent, to 13,770.57, the S&P 500 rose 105.34 points, or 2.4 percent, to 4,431.85 and the Dow Jones jumped 564.69 points, or 1.7 percent, to 34,725.47.
Meanwhile, all major European markets moved to the downside today. While France’s CAC 40 is down 0.8%, Britain’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX are down 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively.
Crude oil prices settled slightly higher on Friday, with prices rising amid fears of tight supplies. Rising geopolitical concerns and limited increases in production by major crude oil producers amid increased fuel demand have contributed to higher oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for March closed up $0.21, or about 0.2%, at $88.82 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, which have risen to their highest level in more than seven years, are up about 2% for the week.
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