Asian Markets Ticking Green

Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Wednesday, with some of the markets recording gains of more than 1 percent, as upbeat U.S. corporate earnings results and strong economic data helped offset worries about trade tensions and rising interest rates.

The Australian market is extending gains from the previous session. Gains by banks and oil stocks helped offset weakness in mining stocks.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 56.90 points or 0.97 percent to 5,926.80, off a high of 5,935.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 58.50 points or 0.98 percent to 6,036.30. Australian stocks closed higher on Tuesday.

The big four banks – ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac – are higher in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.5 percent, extending gains from yesterday.

Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum is rising more than 1 percent and Oil search is adding 0.4 percent, while Santos is declining 0.7 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

In the mining space, BHP is declining almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is down 0.3 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by 0.2 percent as copper and iron ore prices slipped.

BHP said its first-quarter iron ore production rose 8 percent on strong Chinese demand, but lowered its fiscal 2019 outlook for copper production.

Gold miner Evolution Mining is down 0.5 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.4 percent on flat gold prices.

Shares of A2 Milk Co. are gaining almost 8 percent after the company forecast further growth in nutritional products locally and in China.

On the economic front, Australia will see September numbers for the leading economic index from Westpac today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7140, up from $0.7122 on Tuesday.

The Japanese market is notably higher, with investor sentiment bolstered by the gains on Wall Street. In addition, a weaker yen lifted shares of exporters.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 360.60 points or 1.60 percent to 22,909.84, after rising to a high of 22,959.41 earlier. Japanese shares rallied on Tuesday.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic, Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are rising more than 2 percent each, while Canon is advancing more than 1 percent.

SoftBank, which has close ties with Saudi Arabia, is gaining more than 3 percent after Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure said the company is “anxiously looking” at developments regarding the fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Among auto makers, Honda is rising almost 1 percent and Toyota is up more than 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are advancing almost 2 percent each.

In the oil space, Japan Petroleum is rising more than 2 percent and Inpex is adding almost 1 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

In the tech sector, Advantest is gaining almost 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is higher by more than 3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Taiyo Yuden is gaining almost 6 percent, Sumco Corp. is rising more than 5 percent and Yamato Holdings is higher by more than 4 percent.

On the flip side, Kawasaki Kishen Kaisha is falling more than 10 percent, Mitsui OSK Lines is losing more than 7 percent and Nippon Yusen is declining more than 5 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 112 yen-range on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Shanghai, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are also higher. The markets in Hong Kong are closed on Wednesday for the Chung Yeung Festival.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher on Tuesday, partly reflecting a positive reaction to upbeat earnings news from several big-name companies, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Johnson & Johnson. Buying interest was also generated following the release of positive economic data, including a report from the Federal Reserve showing industrial production increased in line with economist estimates in September.

The Dow surged up 547.87 points or 2.2 percent to 25,798.42, the Nasdaq soared 214.75 points or 2.9 percent to 7,645.49 and the S&P 500 jumped 59.13 points or 2.2 percent to 2,809.92.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures ended marginally up on Tuesday, after having declined a bit sharply early on in the session amid concerns about economic growth and likely drop in oil demand. WTI crude for November added $0.14 or 0.2 percent to close at $71.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.