Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend

Asian stock markets are mixed on Thursday as a rebound by tech stocks and optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine were offset by worries about the continued surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe. Some states across the U.S. have announced new economic restrictions in response to the coronavirus spread.

The Australian market is modestly higher after U.S. stocks closed mostly higher overnight, largely reflecting a rebound by tech stocks. Optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine also continued to boost the market.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 11.80 points or 0.18 percent to 6,461.50, after touching a high of 6,470.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 11.00 points or 0.17 percent to 6,662.10. Australian stocks closed higher for the fifth straight session on Wednesday.

Tech stocks are notably higher after their U.S. peers rebounded overnight. Afterpay is gaining more than 5 percent, Appen is rising more than 3 percent and WiseTech Global is advancing more than 1 percent.

Telstra announced a major restructuring, splitting its business into three separate legal entities that is expected to be completed in December 2021. The telecom giant’s shares are gaining more than 4 percent.

Woolworths said it has joined the global RE100 movement and committed to source its entire electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The supermarket giant’s shares are adding 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices extended gains overnight. Santos and Oil Search are declining almost 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is down 0.2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are declining in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.9 percent, while ANZ Banking is adding 0.1 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is losing more than 3 percent and BHP Group is lower by 0.6 percent, while Rio Tinto is edging up 0.1 percent.

Gold miners are mixed after gold prices declined overnight. Evolution Mining is edging up 0.1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.6 percent.

The Japanese market is rising for the eighth straight day following the mostly positive cues from Wall Street. However, a stronger yen weighed on exporters’ shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 205.94 points or 0.81 percent to 25,555.54, after touching a high of 25,587.96 earlier. Japanese shares ended at a fresh 29-year high on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is advancing almost 2 percent and Fast Retailing is rising more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is higher by almost 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding more than 1 percent after their U.S. peers rebounded overnight.

Sony is adding more than 1 percent after the company unveiled its next-generation PlayStation 5 gaming console in major regions, including Japan and the U.S., on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the other major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Panasonic is losing more than 1 percent, Canon is declining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.6 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 1 percent and Toyota is declining almost 1 percent.

Honda plans to launch its Legend sedan with level 3 autonomous driving technology in Japan by March, becoming the world’s first automaker to sell a vehicle with the technology.

Among the other major gainers, Amada Co. is climbing more than 7 percent, while M3 and Bandai Namco are rising more than 3 percent each. Mitsui Chemicals is advancing almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Dentsu Group is tumbling almost 8 percent, while Isetan Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya Co. are losing almost 4 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 105 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia are also higher, while Indonesia is lower. South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan are little changed with a negative bias.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mostly higher on Wednesday, largely reflecting a rebound by technology stocks. Meanwhile, traders cashed on the rally by cyclical stocks seen over the past two sessions, contributing to the modest pullback by the Dow. Overall trading activity was somewhat subdued due to the Veterans Day holiday, as banks and the bond markets were closed and no major U.S. economic data was released.

While the Dow edged down 23.29 points or 0.1 percent to 29,397.63, the broader Nasdaq and S&P 500 both closed firmly in positive territory. The Nasdaq surged up 232.58 points or 2 percent to 11,786.43 and the S&P 500 climbed 27.13 points or 0.8 percent to 3,572.66.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index rose by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday as data showed a larger than expected drop in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended November 6, and on optimism about an effective coronavirus vaccine. WTI crude for December ended up $0.09 or about 0.2 percent at $41.45 a barrel.

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