Asian Markets Mostly Higher
Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday despite the negative cues from Wall Street Friday after a report from the U.S. Labor Department showed that employment in the U.S. fell much more than expected in the month of March.
Investor sentiment received a boost amid optimism that the number of coronavirus cases in New York, a U.S. hotspot for the pandemic, may be peaking. New York State reported its first decline in the number of daily coronavirus-related deaths as well as hospitalizations on Sunday. The coronavirus-related death toll in France and Italy has also slowed.
The Australian market is notably higher amid optimism about the slowdown in the number of coronavirus-related deaths in New York.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 100.20 points or 1.98 percent to 5,167.70, after rising to a high of 5,177.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 100.30 points or 1.96 percent to 5,207.20. Australian stocks gave up early gains to close sharply lower on Friday.
In the oil sector, Santos is gaining more than 4 percent and Woodside Petroleum is higher by almost 3 percent after crude oil prices climbed 12 percent on Friday. Oil Search is in a trading halt ahead of an expected capital raising announcement.
Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is gaining more than 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising more than 3 percent as safe-haven gold prices also rose on Friday.
Among the four banks, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are higher in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.6 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is adding almost 1 percent.
In the mining space, Fortescue Metals is rising more than 1 percent, while Rio Tinto and BHP are advancing almost 1 percent each.
Flight Centre Travel Group is tapping investors for $700 million and has secured an additional $200 million in loans from existing lenders due to the coronavirus pandemic. The travel firm’s shares are in a trading halt.
On the economic front, Australia will see the March inflation forecast from TD Securities as well as March data on job advertisements from ANZ today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local unit was quoted at $0.5998, compared to $0.6063 on Friday.
The Japanese market is surging as investor sentiment received a boost after New York State reported its first decline in the number of daily coronavirus-related deaths as well as hospitalizations on Sunday.
Meanwhile, reports indicated that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to declare a state of emergency in the country following a surge in the number of infections in Tokyo and other major cities.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 476.02 points or 2.67 percent to 18,296.21, after rising to a high of 18,419.57 earlier. Japanese shares ended flat with a positive bias on Friday after four days of losses.
Market heavyweight SoftBank is rising more than 3 percent and Fast Retailing is advancing more than 2 percent.
The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Sony is rising more than 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is advancing almost 2 percent, Panasonic is higher by more than 1 percent and Canon is adding 0.3 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are rising more than 2 percent each. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 5 percent and Toyota is higher by more than 4 percent.
In the oil sector, Inpex is advancing more than 4 percent and Japan Petroleum is higher by more than 3 percent after crude oil prices gained almost 12 percent Friday.
Among the other major gainers, Fujifilm Holdings is climbing more than 7 percent, KDDI Corp. is higher by almost 7 percent, and NTT Docomo is rising almost 6 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia are rising almost 2 percent each, while Hong Kong and Taiwan are modestly higher. New Zealand is losing more than 2 percent and Malaysia is edging lower.
The markets in China and Thailand are closed on Monday for the Qingming Festival and Chakri Day, respectively.
On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Friday after a report from the Labor Department showed employment in the U.S. fell much more than expected in the month of March. The report said employment plunged by 701,000 jobs in March after jumping by an upwardly revised 275,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected employment to slump by 100,000 jobs compared to the addition of 273,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
The Dow tumbled 360.91 points or 1.7 percent to 21,052.53, the Nasdaq plunged by 114.23 points or 1.5 percent to 7,373.08 and the S&P 500 slumped 38.25 points or 1.5 percent to 2,488.65.
The major European markets also moved to the downside on Friday. While the German DAX Index fell by 0.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index plunged by 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Crude oil prices rose sharply on Friday, climbing up for a second successive day amid rising hopes of deep production cuts by major oil producers, including Russia and Saudi Arabia. WTI crude oil futures for May ended up $3.02, or almost 12 percent, at $28.34 a barrel.
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