Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders remained cautious amid the mixed cues about the outlook for global interest rates after the recent hawkish comments from several US Federal Reserve officials. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

In remarks at an event hosted by Greater Louisville Inc., St. Louis Fed President James Bullard suggested the central bank’s aggressive interest rate hikes have had “only limited effects on observed inflation.”

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,100 level, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains led by financial and energy stocks, even as traders remain optimistic the US Fed will scale down the pace of its interest rate increases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 25.50 points or 0.36 percent to 7,161.20, after touching a high of 7,161.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 21.70 points or 0.30 percent to 7,360.70. Australian markets ended modestly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is gaining almost 2 percent, while Rio Tinto is edging down 0.4 percent and Mineral Resources is losing almost 3 percent. OZ Minerals is surging 4.5 percent on returning from a trading halt after the copper miner accepted BHP Group’s sweetened $9.6 billion offer to acquire it.

Oil stocks are higher. Origin Energy is gaining almost 1 percent, Santos is adding more than 1 percent and Beach energy is edging up 0.4 percent, while Woodside Energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global and Zip are losing almost 2 percent each, while Xero is down almost 1 percent and Afterpay owner Block is declining more than 2 percent. Appen is flat.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is gaining almost 1 percent, Westpac is advancing almost 2 percent, Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.2 percent and ANZ Banking is adding more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are losing almost 1 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.5 percent, and Gold Road Resources is declining more than 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is gaining 1.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.670 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving to nearly the 28,000 mark, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda stressed the need to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy to support the economy after release of data that showed annual core consumer prices surged to a 40-year high in October.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,978.06, up 47.49 points or 0.17 percent, after touching a high of 28,045.44. Japanese stocks closed modestly lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is flat. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.3 percent, while Screen Holdings is edging down 0.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.3 percent.

Among major exporters, Canon and Panasonic are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are advancing almost 1 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Tokai Carbon is surging more than 5 percent and Mitsubishi Motors is gaining 4.5 percent, while Mazda Motor and Citizen Watch are adding more than 3 percent each. Isuzu Motors and Tokyo Gas are up almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Rakuten Group is losing more than 3 percent and M3 is down almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 139 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.3 percent, while New Zealand, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.2 and 0.6 percent each. China and Singapore are down 0.2 percent each. Malaysia is closed for voting-related Special Holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks went on another wild ride over the course of the trading day on Thursday, extending the volatility seen in recent sessions. After recovering from an early sell-off, the major averages pulled back once again to end the day in negative territory.

The major averages moved back to the upside going into the close but finished the session in the red. While the Dow edged down 7.51 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 33,546.32, the Nasdaq fell 38.70 points or 0.4 percent to 11,144.96 and the S&P 500 dipped 12.23 points or 0.3 percent to 3,946.56.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned mixed over the course of the session. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices fell sharply on Thursday, pushing the most active oil futures contract to a more than three week closing low. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended lower by $3.95 or about 4.6 percent at $81.64 a barrel.

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