Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Thursday, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, as hotter than expected US inflation data raised the prospect of more aggressive Federal Reserve tightening to rein in 41-year high inflation. Asian Markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday.

However, the Fed released its Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in each of the twelve Fed districts, which noted U.S. economic activity has expanded at a modest pace since mid-May.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 6,600 level, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, boosted by gains in gold miners, materials and energy stocks amid a rebound in commodity prices.

Traders also digested domestic data that showed Australia’s jobless rate falling well below forecast in June to the lowest in 48 years.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 26.00 points or 0.39 percent to 6,647.60, after touching a high of 6,659.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 34.50 points or 0.51 percent to 6,842.30. Australian stocks ended slightly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group, Mineral Resources and Rio Tinto are gaining more than 1 percent each, while OZ Minerals is adding almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding advancing almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Santos, Beach energy and Woodside Energy are adding almost 1 percent each, while Origin Energy is gaining more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 2 percent, Xero is edging down 0.1 percent, Appen is declining almost 3 percent and Zip is slipping almost 2 percent, while WiseTech Global is gaining more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are losing almost 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are declining almost 1 percent each.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are edging up 0.3 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is gaining 1.5 percent, Resolute Mining is adding more than 2 percent and Evolution Mining is up almost 2 percent.

In other news, shares in Lake Resources are plunging more than 16 percent after it emerged from a trading halt amid claims by hedge fund J Capital that its direct lithium extraction technology could fail to perform at a commercial scale.

In economic news, the unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent in June, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, beating expectations for 3.8 percent and down significantly from 3.9 percent in May. The Australian economy added a whopping 88,400 jobs last month, blowing away forecasts for the addition of 30,000 jobs following the addition of 60,600 jobs in May. The participation rate climbed to 66.8 percent, also topping forecasts for 66.7 percent – which would have been unchanged.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.678 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Thursday after being in the red most of the morning session, extending the gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 26,600 level, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, even as traders digested hotter than expected US inflation data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,664.20, up 185.43 points or 0.70 percent, after touching a high of 26,684.07 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are edging up 0.1 to 0.3 percent each.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining more than 2 percent, Tokyo Electron is adding more than 3 percent and Advantest is up more than 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 2 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are edging down 0.1 to 0.3 percent each, while Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent. Canon is flat.

Among the other major gainers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is gaining more than 3 percent, while Keyence is adding almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Tokyo Electric Power is plunging more than 9 percent and Kansai Electric Power is losing almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 137 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia are higher by between 0.1 and 0.8 percent each. Singapore and South Korea are down 0.4 and 0.1 percent, respectively.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Wednesday after recovering from an early move to the downside. The major averages climbed off their early lows and spent the rest of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the session in negative territory but well off their worst levels. The Dow slid 208.54 points or 0.7 percent to 30,772.79, the Nasdaq edged down 17.15 points or 0.2 percent to 11,247.58 and the S&P 500 fell 17.02 points or 0.5 percent to 3,801.78.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both slid by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices shrugged off a surge in U.S. inflation and climbed higher on Wednesday, rebounding smartly after suffering a sharp loss in the previous session. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended higher by $0.46 at $96.30 a barrel.

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