Asian Markets Advance Despite Weak Wall Street Lead

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Asian Markets Advance Despite Weak Wall Street Lead

Asian stock markets are advancing on Tuesday, with investors shrugging off the weak cues overnight from Wall Street. Continued optimism that progress in development of potential coronavirus vaccines would hasten the pace of economic recovery lifted the markets. Data showing that the manufacturing sector in China continued to expand at a faster pace in November also boosted the markets.

The Australian market is rising despite the negative cues from Wall Street. News that Western Australia will reopen its borders to Victoria and New South Wales from December 8 also aided sentiment.

Investors now look ahead to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy decision due later today. The RBA is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at the record low of 0.10 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 57.00 points or 0.87 percent to 6,574.80, off a high of 6,575.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 54.30 points or 0.81 percent to 6,796.40. Australian stocks closed notably lower on Monday.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are higher in a range of 0.8 percent to 1.0 percent, while Westpac is up 0.4 percent.

Australia’s financial regulator, the APRA, said it will take action against Westpac after the bank breached liquidity standards related to funding and loan products. The regulator ordered Westpac to have third-party reviews of its liquidity reporting and to add 10 percent to the net cash outflow of its liquidity coverage ratio.

Gold miners are notably higher despite a decline in safe-haven gold prices overnight. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are higher by more than 2 percent each.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is advancing almost 1 percent and BHP Group is adding 0.2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher after crude oil prices pared losses and closed modestly lower overnight. Santos is adding 0.6 percent and Oil Search is rising 0.4 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is losing almost 2 percent.

In economic news, the latest survey from Markit Economics revealed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in November, and at a faster rate, with a manufacturing PMI score of 55.8. That’s up from 54.2 in October and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the total number of building permits issued in Australia in October was up a seasonally adjusted 3.8 percent on month, coming in at 16,584. That beat expectations for a decline of 3.0 percent following the 16.2 percent spike in September.

The Japanese market is also advancing amid improved risk appetite.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 377.46 points or 1.43 percent to 26,811.08, after touching a high of 26,827.47 earlier. The Japanese market declined on Monday after four days of gains.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is rising more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is higher by almost 2 percent. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 3 percent and Advantest is adding more than 2 percent.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is advancing more than 1 percent, Sony is adding 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is rising 0.7 percent and Canon is up 0.2 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.1 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down 0.4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is higher by 0.6 percent and Toyota is adding 0.3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, NTN Corp. is gaining more than 9 percent, Furukawa Electric is higher by 9 percent and Sumco Corp. is advancing almost 7 percent. Toppan Printing and Asahi Kasei are higher by almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, Tokyo Gas is losing almost 5 percent, Rakuten is lower by more than 4 percent and Fuji Electric is declining almost 4 percent.

On the economic front, the latest survey from Jibun bank revealed that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to contract in November, albeit at a slower pace, with a manufacturing PMI score of 49.0. That’s up from 48.7 in October although it remains beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The unemployment rate in Japan increased to a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent in October, in line with expectations and up from 3.0 percent in September. The jobs-to-applicant ratio was 1.04, beating forecasts for 1.03, which would have been unchanged. The number of employed persons in October was 66.94 million, a decrease of 930,000 from the previous year.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 104 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Malaysia is rising more than 2 percent, while South Korea, Shanghai and Indonesia are advancing more than 1 percent each. Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan are also higher. Bucking the trend, New Zealand is edging lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Monday, partly reflecting profit taking following the strength seen in the markets over the past few sessions. Negative sentiment may also have been generated in reaction to a report from the National Association of Realtors showing pending home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of October. A report from Reuters indicating the Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies also weighed on the markets.

The Dow tumbled 271.73 points or 0.9 percent to 29,639.64, the Nasdaq edged down 7.11 points or 0.1 percent to 12,198.74 and the S&P 500 fell 16.72 points or 0.5 percent to 3,621.63.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Monday. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index plunged by 1.4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures pared early losses and ended slightly lower on Monday, as traders looked ahead to the outcome of a meeting of OPEC and its allies. WTI Crude for January delivery dipped $0.19 or about 0.4 percent to $45.34 a barrel.

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