Asian stock markets are trading higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street after US President Joe Biden accepted a bipartisan Senate deal to spend US$579 billion on infrastructure projects that renewed buying interest amid optimism for economic recovery. Asian markets ended mostly higher on Thursday.
Australian stock market is marginally higher on Friday, recouping the losses of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 breaking above the 7,300 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Strong gains in mining and financial stocks offset weakness in technology and energy stocks.
On the coronavirus front, New South Wales’s COVID outbreak grew by 11 cases and Queensland’s outbreak grew by 3 yesterday Authorities were mainly concerned about four infections that they had been unable to link to known cases.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 49.00 points or 0.67 percent to 7,324.30, after touching a high of 7,325.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 26.20 points or 0.35 percent to 7,565.30. Australian markets ended marginally lower on Thursday.
Among major miners, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and OZ Minerals are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are adding almost 1 percent each.
Oil stocks are mixed. Oil Search and Beach energy are flat, while Woodside Petroleum is edging down 0.1 percent. Santos and Origin Energy are edging up 0.2 percent each.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay is edging up 0.3 percent, while Xero is edging down 0.3 percent, WiseTech Global is losing more than 3 percent and Appen is down more than 2 percent.
Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking is adding more than 1 percent.
Gold miners higher after gold prices climbed overnight. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is adding more than 3 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are up almost 2 percent each. Gold Road Resources is rising more than 2 percent.
In other news, shares in Southern Cross Media are up more than 6 percent after it signed a two year deal to broadcast Network Ten programs such as Masterchef Australia and Australian Survivor in parts of regional Australia.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.759 on Friday.
The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Friday, extending the slight gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 breaking back above the 29,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Traders continue to be upbeat following the recent positive comments on the economy from the Bank of Japan and the lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency in most major areas.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,093.00, up 217.77 points or 0.75 percent, after touching a high of 29,174.17 earlier. Japanese shares closed marginally higher on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent, while Toyota is flat.
In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding almost 1 percent, while Screen Holdings is losing almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.5 percent, while Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are edging up 0.2 percent each.
Among major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.2 percent, while Sony and Canon are gaining almost 1 percent each. Panasonic is adding more than 4 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Mazda Motor is gaining more than 6 percent, Fujikura is adding almost 5 percent, Mitsui E&S Holdings is up almost 4 percent and Nippon Steel is rising more than 3 percent. JFE Holdings, Kobe Steel, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Materials is adding almost 3 percent each, while Omron, Mitsui Chemicals, Tokai Carbon, Inpex, Shiseido and Mitsubishi Motors are all gaining more than 2 percent each.
Conversely, Eisai is losing almost 4 percent, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is down almost 3 percent and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is declining more than 2 percent, while Secom and Nippon Yusen are lower by almost 2 percent each.
In economic news, overall consumer prices in Tokyo were flat on year in June, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That exceeded expectations for a decline of 0.1 percent following the 0.4 percent decline in May. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, also was unchanged on a yearly basis versus forecasts for a decline of 0.1 percent after slipping 0.2 percent in the previous month. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, overall inflation was up 0.3 percent and core CPI rose 0.1 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 110 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea are all higher by between 0.2 and 0.9 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday following the lackluster performance seen in the previous sessions. With the upward move on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.
The major averages finished the day off their best levels of the session but still firmly positive. The Dow jumped 322.58 points or 1 percent to 34,196.82, the Nasdaq advanced 97.98 points or 0.7 percent to 14,369.71 and the S&P 500 climbed 24.65 points or 0.6 percent to 4,266.49.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index advanced by 0.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent.
Crude oil futures settled slightly higher Thursday, continuing to benefit from data that showed a larger than expected drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended up $0.22 or 0.3 percent at $73.30 per barrel.
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