Asian Markets Track Wall Street Higher

Asian stock markets is trading mostly higher on Monday, following the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders reacted positively to raising optimism about the health of the world’s second-largest economy after data showed Chinese manufacturing activity unexpectedly expanded in August. Asian markets closed mixed on Friday.

Data showing an increase in the unemployment rate in the U.S. has also added to optimism the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates unchanged later this month, but traders continued to express some uncertainty about future meetings.

“An uptick in the unemployment rate and moderation of payroll and wage growth mean the Fed is very likely to hold their policy rate steady at the decision later this month,” said Bill Adams, Chief Economist for Comerica Bank.

However, he added, “A rate hike is still possible at the Fed’s November 1 decision if some combination of wage growth, economic growth, or inflation surprise to the upside between now and then.”

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is indicating a 93.0 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged this month but still indicates a 34.3 percent chance of a rate hike in November.

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Monday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,300 level, following the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, boosted by gains across most sectors, led by mining and energy stocks amid a spike in commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 32.20 points or 0.44 percent to 7,310.50, after touching a high of 7,340.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 27.60 points or 0.37 percent to 7,517.50. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining almost 2 percent and BHP Group is adding more than 2 percent, while Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals are advancing more than 3 percent each.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Energy is gaining more than 1 percent, Beach energy is adding almost 3 percent and Santos is advancing 1.5 percent, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining more than 1 percent and Appen is adding almost 1 percent, while WiseTech Global and Xero are edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each. Zip is flat.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Evolution Mining is edging down 0.3 percent and Gold Road Resources is losing almost 1 percent, while Northern Star Resources is adding almost 1 percent, Resolute Mining is gaining almost 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is up more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent and National Australia Bank is edging up 0.2 percent, while Westpac is edging down 0.1 percent. ANZ Banking is flat.

In other news, shares is Liontown Resources are jumping more than 9 percent after indicating it will accept a sweetened $6.6 billion takeover offer from US giant Albemarle following a binding offer at the price.

Shares in SkyCity Entertainment are plunging almost 17 percent after the gambling outlet said its New Zealand licence is under threat of being suspended for about 10 days for failing to comply with a responsibility program.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.647 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Monday, extending the gains in the previous five sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving to a tad below the 32,800 level, following the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with gains in resources related stocks amid a spike in commodity prices.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 32,899.99, up 189.37 or 0.58 percent, after touching a high of 32,900.05 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is advancing 1.5 percent and Toyota is adding more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Advantest are edging down 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is edging up more 0.2 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is advancing almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed. Canon and Sony are edging down 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while Panasonic is edging up 0.1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 1 percent.

Among other major gainers, Kobe Steel is gaining more than 4 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Taiyo Yuden are adding almost 4 percent each. Resona Holdings is up more than 3 percent, while Mazda Motor, Resonac Holdings and Yaskawa Electric are advancing almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, there are no other major losers.

In economic news, the monetary base in Japan climbed 1.2 percent on year in August, the Bank of Japan said on Monday – coming in at 667.447 trillion yen. That was well above forecasts for a decline of 0.7 percent following the upwardly revised 1.3 percent contraction in July (originally -1.4 percent). The adjusted monetary base surged 19.4 percent to 660.849 trillion yen.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 146 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong and China are up 2.7 and 1.3 percent, respectively, while Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia are higher by between 0.3 and 0.5 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.3 percent. Malaysia is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher in early trading on Friday but quickly gave back ground and showed a lack of direction over the remainder of the session. The major averages pulled back off their early highs and spent much of the day lingering near the unchanged line.

The Dow managed to spend most of the day in positive territory before closing up 115.80 points or 0.3 percent at 34,837.71. The S&P 500 also rose 8.11 points or 0.2 percent to 4,515.77, while the Nasdaq edged down 3.15 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 14,031.81, snapping a five-day winning streak.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index increased 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index slid by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil showed another significant move to the upside during trading on Friday, extending recent gains over supply concerns. West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery surged $1.92 or 2.3 percent to $85.55 a barrel, closing higher for the seventh straight session. The price of crude oil soared 7.2 percent for the week.

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