(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Wednesday, following broadly negative overnight signals from Wall Street, as traders remain jittery amid the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus in the regions and heightened tensions between China and the West. Markets are also reflecting uncertainty ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement late in the day. Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday.
The Australian stock market slipped slightly on Wednesday, retreating from the previous session’s record close, with the S&P/ASX 200 index remaining overhead the 7400 level, following broadly negative overnight signals from Wall Street. Traders also remain concerned about the worsening local coronavirus situation in NSW.
Economists expect hundreds of thousands of jobs to be lost over the next few months due to the Sydney lockdown. Australia is set to extend its COVID-19 lockdown by another four weeks in Sydney as unused cases remain lofty despite a month having passed under stringent stay-at-home orders, while Victoria and South Australia eased restrictions from Wednesday.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 loses 54.80 points, or 0.74 percent, to 7,376.60, following hitting a low of 7,732.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries index fell 55.60 points, or 0.72 percent, to 7,648.40 points. Australian shares closed slightly higher on Tuesday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group, Rio Tinto, OZ Minerals and Fortesco Metals are all losing nearly 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources is down nearly 2 percent.
BHP has won an offer by mining magnate Andrew Forrest to purchase Canada’s Noront Resources, while Rio Tinto has announced plans to build a lithium mine in Serbia. Both miners are accelerating their decline from fossil fuels.
Oil stocks mostly fell following crude oil prices fell overnight. Oil Search is up 0.4 percent, while Beach Energy and Woodside Petroleum are losing more than 1 percent each. The origin of the energy is flat. Santos is down nearly 1 percent.
In technology, WiseTech Global gains more than 3 percent and Xero adds nearly 2 percent, while Appen and Afterpay lose nearly 3 percent each.
Among the big four banks, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking all fell 0.3 percent each, while the Commonwealth Bank lost nearly 1 percent.
Among gold mining companies, Evolution Mining is gaining nearly 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is adding nearly 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is down 0.5 percent. Newcrest Mining shares rose 0.1 percent.
In other news, shares in Spark Infrastructure are gaining nearly 6 percent following the energy company received a $2.95-per-share local takeover offer from a North American consortium, including the Ontario Teachers’ Retirement Council and KKR.
In economic news, consumer prices in Australia rose 0.8 per cent on a quarterly basis in the second quarter of 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. This was higher than expectations for a rise of 0.7 percent and up from 0.6 in the previous quarter. On an annual basis, inflation rose 3.8 percent, in line with expectations, but still up from 1.1 percent in the previous three months.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at $0.737 on Wednesday.
The Japanese stock market fell significantly on Wednesday, snapping a three-session winning streak, with the benchmark Nikkei index below the 27,700 level, following broadly negative overnight signals from Wall Street. Traders are also concerned about reports that the International Monetary Fund has cut Japan’s economic growth forecast for this year and that the country is always struggling to contain the spread of the unused wave of coronavirus cases.
The Nikkei 225 benchmark index closed the morning session at 27,648.77, down 321.45 points, or 1.15 percent, following recording 27.574.98 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly higher on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group lost more than 3 percent, and operator Uniqlo Fast Retailing fell more than 1 percent. Among the automakers, Honda rose 0.5 percent, while Toyota slipped 0.3 percent.
In technology, Screen Holdings is losing nearly 3 percent, Tokyo Electron is down more than 2 percent, and Advantest is down more than 3 percent.
In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial fell 0.3 percent each, while Mizuho Financial settled. Among the major issuers, Panasonic is down 0.3 percent, Canon is losing more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is losing nearly 1 percent, and Sony is gaining nearly 1 percent.
Among the other major losers, Sumco lost more than 7 percent, while Sumitomo Dainipon Pharma, M3 and Z Holdings each fell more than 3 percent each. Recruit Holdings, Nippon Express, Kikkoman, Fujitsu, Keisei Electric Railway and Shimizu all fell more than 2 percent.
Conversely, Mitsubishi Motors is up more than 8 percent, Nisshin Seifun Group is up nearly 5 percent, Nissan Motor is up nearly 4 percent, and Nippon Steel is up nearly 3 percent, while Nippon Steel is up nearly 3 percent. Tokuyama, Hitachi Zosen, JFE Holdings, Tosuh, Mazda Motor and Kobe Steel prices rose 2% each.
In the currency market, the US dollar is trading in the 109 yen range on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan fell by 1.7 percent, while Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and China fell by between 0.1 and 0.3 percent each. Hong Kong is gaining 0.7 percent, while New Zealand and Indonesia are up 0.1 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks headed lower during Tuesday’s trading, retreating following closing higher for five successive sessions. Turning lower on the day, the major averages pulled back from the record closing highs set on Monday.
All major averages closed in negative territory, although the lofty-tech Nasdaq underperformed its corresponding segments by a wide margin. While the Nasdaq fell 180.14 points, or 1.2 percent, to 14,660.58, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 20.84 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,401.46 points, and the Dow Jones fell 85.79 points, or 0.2 percent, to 35,058.52.
Also, all major European markets turned bearish today. While the UK’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent, the German DAX and France’s CAC 40 were down 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
The price of Crude Oil drifted lower on Tuesday following moving around the flat line for most of today’s session, as traders weigh demand expectations and look ahead to weekly inventory data. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for September were down $0.26, or 0.4 percent, at $71.65 a barrel.
The opinions and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Nasdaq, Inc.