Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Defying the sell-off in the global markets, Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Friday, as traders react to easing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East after Israel heeded to US’ request to delay its Gaza invasion. The upside has been limited due to the stronger than expected US GDP data that raised concerns the US Fed will leave interest rates higher for longer than expected. Asian markets ended mostly lower on Thursday.

Snapping a two-session losing streak, the Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is staying above the 6,800 level, aided by gains in technology and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 31.80 points or 0.47 percent to 6,844.10, after touching a high of 6,845.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 28.30 points or 0.40 percent to 7,029.40. Australian markets ended notably lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, Mineral Resources is gaining more than 1 percent, while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are edging down 0.4 to 0.5 percent each. BHP Group is flat.

Oil stocks are mixed. Santos and Origin Energy are edging down 0.1 to 0.2 percent each, while Beach energy is gaining almost 1 percent. Woodside Energy is flat.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining more than 2 percent, WiseTech Global is edging up 0.1 percent, Zip is adding almost 1 percent and Appen is up more than 1 percent, while Xero is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are gaining more than 1 percent each, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are adding almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are mixed. Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are losing more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is edging down 0.4 percent. Gold Road Resources is gaining more than 2 percent and Resolute Mining is adding more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.634 on Friday.

Strength in the technology and financial sector is pushing the Japanese stock market significantly higher on Friday, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight. The benchmark Nikkei 225 is moving well above the 30,800 level, recouping the losses in the previous session.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 31,072.93, up 471.15 points or 1.54 percent, after touching a high of 31,081.48 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday.

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

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is advancing almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are gaining more than 2 percent each.

Among major exporters, Canon is losing almost 4 percent and Sony is edging down 0.1 percent, while Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding more than 1 percent.

Among other major gainers, Fujitsu is soaring more than 12 percent and Mitsui Chemicals is gaining almost 4 percent, while Yamato Holdings, Sumco, NEC and Fujikura are adding more than 3 percent each. Chiba Bank, Omron, Recruit Holdings, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, NTT Data Group, Nitto Denko and Nippon Yusen K.K. are all up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Takeda Pharmaceutical is plunging more than 7 percent and Tokuyama is slipping almost 7 percent, while Tokyo Gas and Hitachi Construction Machinery are losing almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, overall inflation in the Tokyo region of Japan was up 3.3 percent on year in October, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 3.1 percent and was up from 2.8 percent in September. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, added an annual 2.7 percent – again exceeding forecasts for an increase of 2.5 percent, which would have been unchanged.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 150 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.7 percent, while China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher by between 0.1 and 0.9 percent each. New Zealand is bucking the trend and is down 0.9 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks moved notably lower over the course of the trading day on Thursday, extending the sharp pullback seen during Wednesday’s session. With the continued weakness, the major averages fell to their lowest closing levels in five months.

The major averages staged a recovery attempt in the latter part of the session but moved back to the downside going into the close. The Nasdaq tumbled 225.62 points or 1.8 percent to 12,595.61, the S&P 500 slipped 49.54 points or 1.2 percent to 4,137.23 and the Dow slid 251.63 points or 0.8 percent to 32,784.30.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped 1.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.8 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices fell to a two-week low on Thursday as diplomatic efforts to stop Israel from a ground invasion of Gaza helped ease concerns about oil supplies. Recent data showing a surge in U.S. crude inventories, and concerns about interest rates also weighed on oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December sank $2.18 or 2.6 percent at $83.21 a barrel.

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