Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Tuesday, following the mixed cues from global markets overnight, amid optimism that the US Fed is close to finishing its aggressive interest rate hikes. Traders also await the congressional testimony from Fed chair Jerome Powell for fresh insights on whether cooling inflation would get the Fed to take it easier on its hikes to interest rates. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Monday.
Apart from Powell’s testimony, traders also look ahead to the release of U.S. monthly jobs data, as well as the upcoming central dank decisions in Japan and Australia.
The Australian stock market is trading relative flat on Tuesday, after a three-session winning streak, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,300 level, following the mixed cues from global markets overnight, as traders remain cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy decision, where it is expected to raise interest rates for the tenth straight meeting by another 25 basis points.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 0.7 points or 0.01 percent to 7,329.30, after hitting a low of 7,302.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 0.40 points or 0.01 percent to 7,525.30. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Monday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are losing almost 2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals and OZ Minerals are edging down 0.1 to 0.4 percent each. Mineral Resources is down more than 1 percent.
Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy and Origin Energy are edging up 0.1 percent each, while Santos is gaining more than 1 percent and Woodside Energy is advancing almost 1 percent.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block and WiseTech Global are losing almost 1 percent each, while Appen is edging up 0.4 percent and Zip is adding almost 1 percent. Xero is edging down 0.3 percent.
Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources, Gold Road Resources and Newcrest Mining are losing more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is declining more than 2 percent. Resolute Mining is flat.
Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.2 percent, while ANZ Banking is gaining almost 1 percent and Westpac is edging up 0.4 percent. National Australia Bank is flat.
In other news, share in InvoCare are skyrocketing 39 percent after the funeral services provider received a non-binding takeover offer of $1.81 billion from asset manager TPG Global LLC.
In economic news, the total value of retail sales in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent on month in January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday – coming in at A$35.091 billion. That was in line with expectations following the 3.9 percent decline in December. On a yearly basis, retail sales advanced 7.5 percent.
The ABS also said Australia posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$11.688 billion in January. That missed expectations for a surplus of A$12.500 billion and was down from A$12.237 billion in December.
The RBA will also wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The RBA is expected to hike its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points, from 3.35 percent to 3.60 percent.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.674 on Tuesday.
The Japanese stock market is notably higher on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 28,300 level, following the mixed cues from global markets overnight, with traders hoping that the Bank of Japan will maintain its ultra-loose policy to support the fragile economy.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,353.34, up 115.56 points or 0.41 percent, after touching a high of 28,398.27 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Monday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding 1.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.2 percent and Toyota is flat.
In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are edging down 0.3 to 0.4 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is losing almost 1 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are edging up 0.1 to 0.5 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is gaining almost 1 percent.
The major exporters are mixed. Sony is gaining almost 1 percent, while Canon is losing almost 1 percent. Mitsubishi Electric and Panasonic are flat.
Among the other major gainers, Kobe Steel is gaining more than 5 percent and Teijin is adding more than 4 percent, while Taiheiyo Cement, OKUMA, Sumitomo Osaka Cement and NSK are up almost 3 percent each.
Conversely, there are no other major losses.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 135 yen-range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.6 percent, while China, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.4 and 0.7 percent each. New Zealand and Indonesia are down 0.2 percent each.
On the Wall Street, stocks showed a notable move to the upside in morning trading on Monday but gave back ground over the course of the session. The major averages pulled back well off their highs of the session, ending the day narrowly mixed.
After surging as much as 1.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq showed a significant pullback and closed down 13.27 points or 0.1 percent at 11,675.74. Meanwhile, the Dow and the S&P 500 pulled back well off their best levels but closed modestly higher. The Dow crept up 40.47 points or 0.1 percent to 33,431.44 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.78 points or 0.1 percent to 4,048.42.
The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index climbed 0.5 percent.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Monday after Saudi Arabia signaled that it sees oil demand picking up in Asia and Europe by raising most prices for crude shipments to the regions. West Texas International Crude oil futures for April advanced $0.78 or 1 percent at $80.46 a barrel.
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