Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders remained cautious and optimistic a deal will finally be reached on raising the US debt ceiling to avert a first-ever US default, despite talks being paused after Republican negotiators walked out the meeting. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

Comments from US Fed Chair Jerome Powell reinforcing expectations the central bank will leave interest rates unchanged next month also helped. Citing recent turmoil in the banking sector, Powell suggested interest rates “may not need to rise as much as it would have otherwise to achieve our goals.”

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,300 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness in technology and financial stocks partially offset by gains in miners and energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 19.30 points or 0.27 percent to 7,260.20, after hitting a low of 7,249.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 23.30 points or 0.31 percent to 7,448.20. Australian stocks closed notably higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Mineral Resources is losing more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.3 percent, while BHP Group is edging up 0.2 percent. Rio Tinto is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos is gaining almost 1 percent, Beach energy is adding more than 1 percent and Woodside Energy is edging up 0.5 percent, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among tech stocks, Zip is plunging almost 6 percent, Appen is declining almost 3 percent and Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent, while Xero is edging up 0.3 percent. WiseTech Global is flat.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Evolution Mi.ning and Gold Road Resources are edging up 0.3 to 0.4 percent each, while Resolute Mining is gaining more than 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.3 percent. Northern Star Resources is flat

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging down 0.1 to 0.4 percent each.

In other news, shares in Tyro Payments are plummeting 16 percent after a private equity consortium led by Potentia Capital have walked away from a takeover deal.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.665 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Monday, extending the gains in the previous seven sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 30,800 level at 33-year highs, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, aided by gains in market heavyweight stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 30,833.94, up 25.59 or 0.08 percent, after touching a high of 30,860.36 and a low of 30,689.27 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent, while Toyota is losing almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining more than 1 percent and Advantest is adding almost 2 percent, while Tokyo Electron is flat.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 2 percent, while Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging up 0.3 to 0.5 percent each.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Panasonic and Canon are edging up 0.3 to 0.5 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 1 percent. Sony is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Tokio Marine is surging more than 5 percent, Fujikura is gaining almost 4 percent and Keisei Electric Railway are adding almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Renesas Electronics is losing more than 4 percent.

In economic news, the value of core machine orders in Japan was down a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent on month in March, the Cabinet Office said on Monday – coming in at 852.9 billion yen. That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 0.7 percent following the 4.5 percent decline in February. On a yearly basis, core machine orders were down 3.5 percent – also missing expectations for an increase of 1.4 percent following the 9.8 percent jump in the previous month.

For the first quarter of 2023, orders were up 2.6 percent on quarter and 1.8 percent on year at 2,670.5 billion yen. For the second quarter of 2023, core machine orders are forecast to rise 4.6 percent on quarter and sink 1.6 percent on year.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 137 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is surging 1.6 percent, while China, South Korea and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.9 percent each. New Zealand and Malaysia are down 1.0 and 0.4 percent, respectively. Singapore and Taiwan are relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly lower over the course of the trading session on Friday after an early move to the upside. The major averages pulled back off their early highs and into negative territory after moving sharply higher over the two previous sessions.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached nine-month intraday highs in early trading but ended the day in the red. The Nasdaq dipped 30.94 points or 0.2 percent to 12,657.90 and the S&P 500 edged down 6.07 points or 0.1 percent to 4,191.98, while the Dow fell 109.28 points or 0.3 percent to 33,426.63.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all 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 pared early gains and settled lower on Friday, weighed down by the ambiguity regarding the U.S. debt ceiling talks. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June slipped $0.31 or 0.4 percent to $71.55 a barrel; WTI crude futures gained 2.2 percent in the week.

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