Asian Markets Mostly Lower On Virus Concerns
(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Friday amid worries about rising coronavirus infections in the U.S. as well as Europe and the economic impact of new restrictions and lockdowns. During a European Central Bank Forum on Central Banking virtual event, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted the economic outlook remains uncertain despite recent upbeat news about a potential coronavirus vaccine.
The Australian market is modestly lower, extending losses from the previous session.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 8.40 points or 0.13 percent to 6,409.80, after touching a low of 6,392.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 5.60 points or 0.08 percent to 6,613.80. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Thursday, ending a five-day rally.
Oil stocks are mostly lower after crude oil prices declined overnight. Santos is losing more than 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum is lower by almost 1 percent, while Oil Search is adding 0.2 percent.
Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are down in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.9 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is adding 0.2 percent.
Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 2 percent, while BHP Group is declining more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is edging down 0.1 percent.
Gold miners are notably higher after gold prices rebounded overnight. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 5 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising almost 3 percent.
In economic news, Australia will see November results for the consumer inflation forecast from the Melbourne Institute today.
The Japanese market is declining after eight straight days of gains. Japan too has recorded a surge in coronavirus cases nationwide, prompting the government to extend the restriction on spectator numbers at large events by another three months, instead of until the end of November as decided earlier.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 220.25 points or 0.86 percent to 25,300.63, after touching a low of 25,284.99 earlier. Japanese shares rose notably to close near a more than 29-year high on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing 1 percent, while Fast Retailing is advancing more than 1 percent.
In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is adding more than 1 percent and Advantest is up 0.3 percent.
The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 2 percent, Canon is declining almost 2 percent and Panasonic is down 0.4 percent, while Sony is rising more than 2 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is declining 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is down 0.5 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Nissan Motor is rising almost 7 percent after the automaker projected a narrower operating loss for the full year and raised its forecast for full-year global vehicle sales. M3 is advancing almost 2 percent.
Conversely, Marui Group is tumbling more than 7 percent, while Citizen Watch and Trend Micro are losing more than 5 percent each. Haseko Corp. is lower by almost 5 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 104 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, Singapore. Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia are also lower, while South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan are modestly higher.
On Wall Street, stocks closed notably lower on Thursday as the recent surge in coronavirus cases across the U.S. and Europe led to renewed concerns about the economic outlook. The virus concerns overshadowed a report from the Labor Department showing a bigger than expected decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended November 7.
The Dow tumbled 317.46 points or 1.1 percent to 29,080.17, the Nasdaq slid 76.84 points or 0.7 percent to 11,709.59 and the S&P 500 slumped 35.65 points or 1 percent to 3,537.01.
The major European markets also moved to the downside on Thursday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index slumped by 1.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.5 percent.
Crude oil futures drifted lower on Thursday as the continued rise in coronavirus cases across the U.S. and several European countries raised concerns about energy demand. WTI crude futures for December ended down $0.33 or about 0.8 percent at $41.12 a barrel.
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