Asian Markets Trading Mixed

Asian stock markets are trading mixed on Tuesday, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, as traders remain cautious and reluctant to make significant moves amid worries over a standoff on raising the U.S. government’s $31.4 trillion borrowing limit. Traders also looked ahead to the release of some key economic data in the coming days. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Monday.

Remarks by Federal Reserve officials are also likely to attract attention this week, with Fed Chair Jerome Powell due to participate in a Perspectives on Monetary Policy panel before the Thomas Laubach Research Conference on Friday.

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Tuesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,300 level, despite the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, as traders reacted to data showing consumer confidence in Australia declined sharply in May. Meanwhile, higher commodity prices lifted energy and materials shares.

According to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute index, consumer sentiment dropped 7.9 percent in May after a 9.4 percent jump in April. This also came in worse than market consensus for a 1.7 percent fall.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 17.20 points or 0.24 percent to 7,249.90, after hitting a low of 7,246.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 20.20 points or 0.27 percent to 7,440.30. Australian stocks closed slightly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources is edging down 0.3 percent. Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy is gaining almost 1 percent, while Woodside Energy and Santos are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each. Origin Energy is losing almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining almost 1 percent and Zip is adding almost 2 percent, while WiseTech Global and Xero are down more than 1 percent each. Appen is flat.

Gold miners are mixed. Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.5 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are losing almost 1 percent each. Resolute Mining is gaining more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are is gaining almost 1 percent each.

In other economic news, members of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Monetary Policy Board acknowledged that there are still significant uncertainties surrounding the country’s economic outlook, minutes of the board’s May 2 meeting revealed on Tuesday.

Inflation remains high but probably has peaked, the members added while deciding whether to hike its benchmark lending rate or leave it unchanged. However, projections showed that inflation is not likely to reach the top of the central bank’s target band until mid-2025.

At the meeting, the RBA unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to 3.85 percent and signaled more hikes to bring inflation back to the target in a reasonable timeframe.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.669 on Tuesday.

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 29,800 level to 18-month highs, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with gains across most sectors, led by technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,828.71, up 202.37 points or 0.68 percent, after touching a high of 29,890.59 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining 1.5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is also up 1.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining 3.5 percent each, while Screen Holdings is adding 2.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 2 percent, while Mizuho Financial is gaining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding almost 2 percent.

The major exporters are mixed. Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.2 percent and Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent, while Sony is losing almost 1 percent. Canon is flat.

Among the other major gainers, T&D Holdings and Kajima are gaining more than 4 percent each, while Recruit Holdings is adding almost 4 percent, Renesas Electronics is up more than 3 percent and Nippon Paper is advancing almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Konica Minolta is plummeting more than 11 percent and Dentsu Group plunging almost 8 percent, while Mitsui E&S and Sumitomo Pharma are losing almost 7 percent each. Resonac Holdings is down almost 6 percent, while Rakuten Group and Japan Post are declining more than 5 percent each. Suzuki Motor and Ebara are slipping more than 4 percent each, while Yamaha Motor and Dai-ichi Life are sliding more than 3 percent each. Sumitomo Chemical is down almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 135 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan is up 1.3 percent, while, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia are higher by between 0.3 and 0.5 percent each. New Zealand, China, Singapore and Indonesia are all down 0.1 percent each.

On the Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance for much of the trading session on Monday but managed to end the day mostly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq reached its best closing level in well over eight months, while the Dow snapped a five-session losing streak.

The major averages all finished the day in positive territory. The Nasdaq climbed 80.47 points or 0.7 percent to 12,365.21, the S&P 500 rose 12.20 points or 0.3 percent to 4,136.28 and the Dow inched up 47.98 points or 0.1 percent to 33,348.60.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index closed just above the unchanged line.

Crude oil prices climbed higher Monday, riding on prospects of lower supplies in Canada and elsewhere, while a weaker dollar also contributed to oil’s uptick. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June gained $1.07 or 1.5 percent at $71.11 a barrel after three days of losses.

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