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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday amid continued optimism about a new U.S. stimulus bill after President Donald Trump suggested he was once again in favor of a broad relief package.

Investors also digested news that the People’s Bank of China has changed a rule that now makes it cheaper to short the yuan following the currency’s recent sharp gains.

The Australian market is edging higher in cautious trades following the positive cues from Wall Street. Gains by gold miners and banks were offset by weakness in the mining and oil sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 5.90 points or 0.10 percent to 6,108.10, after rising to a high of 6,112.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 8.10 points or 0.13 percent to 6,320.60. Australian stocks closed marginally higher on Friday.

Gold miners are sharply higher after gold prices rose to a three-week high on Friday. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising more than 3 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are rising in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search is losing more than 2 percent, Santos is lower by more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down almost 1 percent after crude oil prices declined on Friday.

In the mining sector, BHP Group is declining 0.3 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding 0.5 percent.

The Japanese market is declining after gains in the previous sessions and despite the positive cues from Wall Street Friday. Investors remained cautious as they digested mixed local economic data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 86.65 points or 0.41 percent to 23,523.04, after falling to a low of 23,508.52 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is advancing more than 1 percent, while Fast Retailing is down 0.6 percent.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric, Canon and Sony are declining more than 1 percent each, while Panasonic is down almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.1 percent, while Advantest is adding 0.4 percent.

Among banks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Toyota and Honda are losing more than 1 percent each.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is advancing more than 1 percent and Inpex is edging up 0.1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, M3 and Sumco are rising almost 2 percent each.

Conversely, Yaskawa Electric is losing almost 5 percent and Citizen Watch is lower by more than 3 percent, while GS Yuasa and JGC Holdings are declining almost 3 percent each.

On the economic front, the Cabinet Office said that the value of core machine orders in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent on month in August, coming in at 752.5 billion yen. That beat forecasts for a decline of 1.0 percent following the 6.3 percent increase in July.

The Bank of Japan said that the value of overall bank lending in Japan was up 6.4 percent on year in September, coming in at 573.737 trillion yen. That was in line with expectations and down from the 6.7 percent gain in August.

Producer prices in Japan were down 0.2 percent on month in September, missing expectations for a flat reading following the downwardly revised 0.1 percent increase in August.

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

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday, extending gains from the two previous sessions amid continued optimism about a new stimulus bill after President Donald Trump suggested he was once again in favor of a broad relief package. Trump’s comments came amid reports that the White House was planning to offer a $1.8 trillion package, which is up from the administration’s previous $1.6 trillion proposal, but still below the $2.2 trillion bill passed by House Democrats.

While the Nasdaq jumped 158.96 points or 1.4 percent to 11,579.94, the Dow climbed 161.39 points or 0.6 percent to 28,586.90 and the S&P 500 advanced 30.30 points or 0.9 percent to 3,477.13.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both climbed by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday as traders made largely cautious moves, weighing demand and supply positions in the market. WTI crude for November ended lower by $0.59 or about 1.4 percent at $40.60 a barrel.

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