Asian Markets Trade Mostly Higher


Asian stock markets are trading mostly higher on Monday, following the lack of any major cues from global markets which were closed for Good Friday, boosted by strong gains in China after domestic data showed manufacturing purchasing managers index expanded in March for the first time since September. Traders also reacted to US inflation data released on Friday that increased by slightly less than expected in February.

US Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at a conference on Friday that the data was ‘pretty much in line with expectations’ and that the U.S. central bank is in no hurry to cut interest rates. He acknowledged the risks of leaving interest rates where they are now, but nevertheless emphasized the need for consistent inflation control towards a 2 percent target.

The Australian stock market is closed for Easter Monday holiday on Monday. Australian markets ended significantly higher on Thursday prior to the holiday on Friday.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.652 on Monday.

The Japanese stock market is trading sharply lower on Monday after opening well in the green, giving up all the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 is falling below the 39,800 level, as traders react to some weak domestic economic data, including business mood falling for the first time in a year and factory activity contracting for the tenth straight month.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 39,765.22, down 604.22 points or 1.50 percent, after touching a high of 40,697.22 and a low of 39,737.20 earlier. Japanese shares ended notably higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is declining more than 2 percent, while Toyota is losing almost 4 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing 3.5 percent, Advantest is declining more than 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is down 2.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing more than 2 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down more than 3 percent and Mizuho Financial is declining almost 3 percent.

The major exporters are lower. Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are losing almost 1 percent each, while Panasonic is declining more than 3 percent and Sony is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among other major losers, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is losing almost 5 percent, while Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Sompo Holdings and Resonac Holdings are declining more than 4 percent each. Mitsui Chemicals and JTEKT are down almost 4 percent each, while ENEOS Holdings and Fujitsu are slipping more than 3 percent each. Asahi Kasei and Mitsui Mining & Smelting are sliding almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Fanuc and Casio Computer are surging more than 5 percent each, while Omron and Citizen Watch are gaining almost 5 percent each. Yaskawa Electric and Rakuten Group are up almost 4 percent each, while Kao, Dentsu Group, SMC Corp. and Murata Manufacturing are advancing almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 151 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, China is up 1.1 percent, while South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia are up 0.3 and 0.6 percent each. Indonesia and Taiwan are down 0.8 and 0.2 percent, respectively. New Zealand and Hong Kong are closed for Easter Monday holiday.

On Wall Street, the markets were closed for Good Friday on Friday after closing lower on Friday.

The major European markets were also closed for Good Friday on Friday.

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