Asian Markets Trade Mixed

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Monday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, as traders reacted to data showing less than expected employment growth in the U.S. and Canada in July, which eased concerns about the outlook for interest rates and raised expectations the central banks will soon end their policy tightening. Most economists still expect another pause in interest rate hikes. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Friday.

“With the labor market very strong, wages rising solidly, and core inflation well above the Fed’s target, odds are better than 50-50 that the Fed makes another quarter percentage point rate hike in the second half of 2023, most likely at the Fed’s November 1 decision,” said Bill Adams, Chief Economist for Comerica Bank.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,300 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, weighed down by weakness in iron miners and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 26.70 points or 0.36 percent to 7,298.60, after hitting a low of 7,297.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 25.30 points or 0.34 percent to 7,510.60. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is edging down 0.4 percent, while Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are losing almost 1 percent each. Mineral Resources is edging up 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Santos, Origin Energy and Beach energy are edging up 0.3 to 0.4 percent each, while Woodside Energy is adding almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero is losing almost 1 percent, while Appen is edging up 0.2 percent and WiseTech Global is gaining more than 1 percent and. Zip is flat. Afterpay owner Block is plummeting almost 11 percent after reporting their results on Friday.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Gold Road Resources, Newcrest Mining, Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are edging up 0.3 to 0.5 percent each. Resolute Mining is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are edging down 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are losing almost 1 percent each.

In other news, shares in Lithium Australia are sky rocketing more than 39 percent after it inked a joint development agreement with Mineral Resources related to disruptive lithium extraction technology LieNA.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.659 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is trading relatively flat with a negative bias on Monday, after the slight gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 32,100 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness across most sectors, led by technology stocks and index heavyweights.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 32,190.31, down 2.44 or 0.01 percent, after hitting a low of 31,830.23 earlier. Japanese shares ended slightly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is declining almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.4 percent and Toyota is flat.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are losing more than 2 percent each, while Advantest is declining almost 4 percent.

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

The major exporters are mixed. Canon is losing almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.4 percent, while Panasonic is advancing almost 1 percent. Sony is flat.

Among other major losers, Marubeni is losing more than 4 percent, UBE is declining almost 4 percent and Subaru is down almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Astellas Pharma is soaring almost 8 percent and Sharp is surging almost 6 percent, while Nissui and Mitsui Chemicals are gaining more than 4 percent each. Z Holdings is adding more than 3 percent and Minebea Mitsumi is up almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 142 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China and Hong Kong are lower by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent each, while Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each. South Korea is relatively flat.

On Wall Street, stocks saw substantial volatility during trading on Friday, as traders digested the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report. The major averages spent the day showing wild swings back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually finished the day in negative territory. The Dow fell 150.27 points or 0.4 percent to 35,065.62, the Nasdaq declined 50.48 points or 0.4 percent to 13,909.24 and the S&P 500 slid 23.86 points or 0.5 percent to 4,478.03.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index rose by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices climbed higher Friday, extending recent gains amid tightening supply issues after Saudi Arabia and Russia pledged to cut output through next month. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended higher by $1.27 at $82.82 a barrel.

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