(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Wednesday, following broadly positive signals overnight from Wall Street, continued bargain hunting and as traders digest the latest batch of news on quarterly earnings, with strong gains in tech and financials partially offset by weakness in energy stocks as oil prices fell sharply for a second straight session. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, lingering concerns over surging cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in several countries continue to impact market sentiment.
Traders also continue to anticipate the US Department of Labor’s January consumer price inflation report. The report, due out Thursday morning, could impact the outlook for how aggressively the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to fight inflation.
Australia’s stock market is slightly higher on Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rising above the 7,200 level, following broadly positive signals from Wall Street overnight, tech stocks and financials leading the gains as traders digest corporate earnings reports, particularly from Commonwealth Bank.
Concerns about national COVID-19 cases have also eased despite a recent spike in cases in some regions. New South Wales reported 10,312 new cases and 20 deaths on Tuesday and Victoria also reported 9,908 new cases and 21 deaths. Queensland recorded 6,902 new cases and 24 deaths, ACT reported 475 new cases, the Northern Territory reported 1,160 new cases and Tasmania reported 574 new cases and two deaths.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 gained 46.80 points or 0.65% to 7,233.50, after hitting a high of 7,243.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 46.40 points or 0.62% at 7,535.40. Australian stocks ended sharply higher on Tuesday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group lost almost 1%, while OZ Minerals gained 0.5%, Fortescue Metals gained more than 1% and Rio Tinto gained almost 1%.
Mineral resources fall more than 7% after the lithium and iron ore miner reported lower half-year revenue amid falling iron ore prices and labor shortages and a declared that it would not pay an interim dividend.
Oil inventories fell lower as oil prices fell sharply for a second straight session. Woodside Petroleum, Beach energy and Santos are down more than 2% each, while Origin Energy is down nearly 1%.
In the tech space, WiseTech Global gains nearly 1% and Appen adds nearly 2%, while Xero and Block are up 0.3% each. Zip loses almost 1%.
Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank each gained nearly 1%, while Westpac rose nearly 2%.
Commonwealth Bank adds more than 4% after reporting a bigger-than-expected jump in half-year cash profit on growth in mortgages and business loans. It also declared an additional interim dividend and stock buyback of $2 billion.
Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are up 0.3% each, while Resolute Mining gains 3.5%. Northern Star Resources is down 0.4% and Gold Road Resources is down almost 1%. Separately, Computershare shares jumped more than 10% after the company announced an increase in earnings and updated its full-year guidance. It also declared an interim dividend.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at $0.716 on Wednesday.
The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Wednesday, extending the gains of the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei remaining a little below the 27,500 level, following broadly positive signals from Wall Street overnight, with gains in most sectors, especially in technology. and financial.
Ongoing concerns about the impact of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus remain, with new daily cases topping the 100,000 mark in the past week. With Tokyo and 33 of the 47 prefectures already under a near-state of emergency, the government plans to extend it for Tokyo and 12 other prefectures for about three weeks beyond Sunday’s expiration.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 closed the morning session at 27,530.82, up 246.30 points or 0.90%, after hitting a high of 27,543.76 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly higher on Tuesday.
The SoftBank group, heavyweight in the market, increased by more than 5% and the operator Uniqlo Fast Retailing gained nearly 1%. Among automakers, Honda gains nearly 1% and Toyota gains nearly 2%.
SoftBank Group announced plans to take Arm public after a planned sale of the unit to Nvidia collapsed.
In technology, Screen Holdings gained almost 2%, Advantest added more than 2% and Tokyo Electron gained almost 1%.
In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial gained more than 1% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial gained nearly 1% and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial gained nearly 2%.
Among the major exporters, Panasonic gained nearly 2% and Canon rose 0.4%, while Mitsubishi Electric and Sony stagnated.
Among other top gainers, IHI soared nearly 10%, while AGC and JFE Holdings rose more than 8% each. Nippon Sheet Glass, sharp and Z Holdings gain nearly 6% each, while Olympus adds nearly 5%. Alps Alpine is up more than 4%, while Nissan Motor and Minebea Mitsumi add almost 4% each.
Conversely, DeNA plunges almost 9%, Taiheiyo Cement loses more than 6% and Taisei is down almost 4%.
In the currency market, the US dollar is trading in the lower range of 115 yen on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.8%, while New Zealand, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia are up 0.2-0.9% each.
On Wall Street, stocks mostly rose during the trading day on Tuesday, more than offsetting the weakness seen on Monday. Major averages climbed firmly into positive territory after showing a lack of direction early in the session.
The major averages saw a further rise at the close, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow Jones jumped 371.65 points or 1.1% to 35,462.78, the Nasdaq jumped 178.79 points or 1.3% to 14,194.46 and the S&P 500 advanced 37.67 points or 0.8% at 4,521.54.
Meanwhile, major European markets delivered a mixed performance on the day. While Britain’s FTSE 100 index edged down 0.1%, Germany’s DAX index and France’s CAC 40 index rose 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.
Crude oil prices settled down sharply on Tuesday, extending losses from the previous session. Oil prices fell as traders eyed U.S.-Iranian talks, which, if successful, could flood the market. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March fell $1.96, or about 2.2%, to $89.36 a barrel.
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