Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday following the record closing highs overnight on Wall Street amid positive news on the coronavirus front. Investor sentiment was also boosted by signs of progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement that the U.S. and China are seeing progress and are committed to taking steps to ensure the success of their Phase 1 trade deal.

The Australian market is extending gains from the previous session following the record highs overnight on Wall Street. Investor sentiment also received a boost as the rate of coronavirus infections continued to ease in Victoria.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 41.60 points or 0.68 percent to 6,171.20, after touching a high of 6,199.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 42.30 points or 0.67 percent to 6,342.60. Australian stocks closed higher on Monday.

The big four banks – National Australia Bank, Westpac, ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank – are rising in a range of 2.0 percent to 2.9 percent.

The major miners are also higher. Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is adding 0.7 percent and BHP Group is up 0.4 percent.

Oil stocks are advancing after crude oil prices rose overnight. Oil Search and Santos are rising more than 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is adding almost 1 percent.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are weak after safe-haven gold prices declined overnight. Evolution Mining is losing almost 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by more than 1 percent.

Westfield shopping centres operator Scentre Group reported a net operating loss of A$3.6 billion for the half year, after writing down the value of its 42 properties due the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Scentre’s shares are rising more than 4 percent.

Ansell reported a 42 percent surge in full-year profit on strong sales of its personal protective equipment due to the coronavirus pandemic. The protective gloves and clothing maker’s shares are adding 0.6 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the US dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7165, compared to Monday’s close of $0.7160.

The Japanese market is notably higher following the record closing highs overnight on Wall Street amid upbeat news on the coronavirus front. A sharp fall in the number of daily coronavirus cases in Tokyo to below 100 also lifted sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is advancing 326.41 points or 1.42 percent to 23,311.92, off a high of 23,314.45 earlier. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is rising more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is higher by more than 2 percent.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker safe-haven yen. Canon and Panasonic are gaining more than 2 percent each, Mitsubishi Electric is advancing more than 1 percent and Sony is higher by 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is adding 0.6 percent and Tokyo Electron is up 0.3 percent. In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are rising almost 3 percent each.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals said it has agreed to divest its unit Takeda Consumer Healthcare Co. Ltd. or TCHC to Blackstone Group Inc. for 242 billion yen. Shares of Takeda Pharma are advancing almost 1 percent.

Among automakers, Honda Motor is advancing more than 2 percent and Toyota is adding more than 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is rising more than 2 percent and Inpex is higher by almost 2 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the other major gainers, IHI Corp. is gaining almost 6 percent, while Toray Industries and Konica Minolta are rising more than 5 percent each. ANA Holdings, Credit Saison and Alps Alpine are higher by almost 5 percent each.

Conversely, Cyberagent is losing more than 2 percent and Chughai Pharmaceutical is lower by almost 2 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 105 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Singapore are advancing more than 1 percent each, while Taiwan and Indonesia are rising almost 1 percent each. Shanghai and New Zealand are also higher. Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Malaysia are modestly lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday following upbeat news on the coronavirus front. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Sunday that it has issued an emergency use authorization for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. Adding to the positive sentiment, a report from the Financial Times said the Trump administration is considering fast-tracking an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the U.K. for use in America ahead of the presidential election.

The Dow surged up 378.13 points or 1.4 percent to 28,308.46, the Nasdaq advanced 67.92 points or 0.6 percent to 11,379.72 and the S&P 500 jumped 34.12 points or 1 percent to 3,431.28.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Monday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index spiked by 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices jumped on Monday as the threat of hurricanes in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico brought oil production to a halt. WTI crude futures added $0.28 or 0.66 percent to settle at $42.62 a barrel.

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