Cautious Trading Sees Mixed Asian Markets

Asian stock markets are mixed on Monday, with some of the markets giving up early gains after Chinese stocks declined more than 1 percent in morning trade. The markets had opened mostly higher despite the weak cues from Wall Street Friday amid worries about corporate earnings results and global economic growth.

Investors also digested news that far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was declared the winner of Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition partners suffered another setback after losing in a regional election.

The Australian market is rising despite the weak cues from Wall Street. Higher commodity prices gave a boost to resources stocks. Mining, health care and banking stocks are among the major gainers.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 38.90 points or 0.69 percent to 5,704.10, off a high of 5718.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 32.90 points or 0.57 percent to 5,793.20. Australian shares ended marginally higher on Friday to end a five-session losing streak.

The major miners are advancing following an increase in iron ore prices. BHP and Rio Tinto are advancing more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is adding 0.4 percent.

In the healthcare sector, CSL is gaining almost 4 percent, ResMed is rising 3 percent and Cochlear is adding 0.1 percent.

The big four banks are modestly higher. ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher after crude oil prices rose on Friday. Woodside Petroleum is rising more than 1 percent and Oil Search is up 0.2 percent, while Santos is down 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are mixed despite a slight increase in safe-haven gold prices. Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent, while Newcrest Mining is higher by more than 1 percent.

Navitas has rejected a $1.4 billion takeover offer from its co-founder and private equity firm BGH, saying that the bid undervalues the company. The tuition provider’s shares are adding almost 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7100, up from $0.7025 on Friday.

The Japanese market drifted lower, after opening higher despite the weak cues from Wall Street as well as a stronger safe-haven yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 19.30 points or 0.09 percent to 21,165.30, after rising to a high of 21,465.99 in early trades. Japanese shares gave up early gains to end modestly lower on Friday.

The major exporters are higher despite a slightly stronger yen. Sony is advancing more than 1 percent, Panasonic is adding almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is higher by 0.5 percent and Canon is up 0.2 percent.

In the tech sector, Tokyo Electron is higher by 1 percent and Advantest is rising 0.5 percent.

Hitachi said Friday it will sell more than a 60 percent stake it holds in car navigation system subsidiary Clarion Co. to French auto parts maker Faurecia for about 89.9 billion yen. The electronic conglomerate’s shares are edging up 0.1 percent.

Among auto makers, Honda is rising more than 1 percent, while Toyota is declining almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining 0.4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is lower by almost 1 percent.

In the oil space, Japan Petroleum is advancing more than 2 percent and Inpex is adding 0.6 percent after crude oil prices rose on Friday.

Among the other major gainers, Kansai Electric Power and Shin-Etsu Chemical are gaining almost 7 perent each, while Chubu Electric Power is rising more than 5 percent and Daiwa House Industry is adding almost 4 percent.

On the flip side, Fujitsu is losing almost 5 percent, Cyberagent is declining more than 3 percent and NTT Docomo is lower by more than 1 percent.

In economic news, Japan will release retail sales figures for September today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 111 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia are also modestly higher, while Shanghai, South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are all lower.

On Wall Street, stocks extended their recent see-saw performance with a sharp pullback on Friday amid a negative reaction to corporate results from some big-name companies. Traders largely shrugged off a report from the Commerce Department showing stronger than expected U.S. economic growth in the third quarter.

The Dow slumped 296.24 points or 1.2 percent to 24,688.31, the Nasdaq plummeted 151.12 points or 2.1 percent to 7,167.21 and the S&P 500 tumbled 46.88 points or 1.7 percent to 2,658.69.

The major European markets also showed significant moves to the downside on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both dropped by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Friday amid expectations that sanctions on Iran will tighten supply. WTI crude for December added $0.26 or 0.4 percent at $67.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.