Asian Markets Update


Asian stock markets are in negative territory on the last trading day of 2019 following the weak cues overnight from Wall Street as investors booked profits amid thin holiday trading ahead of the new year. Some of the regional markets are closed for New Year's Eve, while some other markets have shortened trading sessions today.


The Australian market is notably lower after Wall Street pulled back from record highs overnight amid thin holiday trade. The heavyweight banking and mining sectors are among the major losers.


The Australian market will close early today and resume trading on Thursday after the New Year's Day holiday.


The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 87.00 points or 1.28 percent to 6,717.90, off a low of 6,714.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 87.90 points or 1.27 percent to 6,833.70. The Australian market closed lower on Monday.


Among the major miners, BHP is declining more than 1 percent, Fortescue Metals is lower by almost 1 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.6 percent.


Oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices snapped a four-session winning streak and edged lower. Oil Search is declining more than 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is down almost 1 percent and Santos is lower by 0.6 percent.


The big four banks - Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking, and ANZ Banking - are lower in a range of 0.7 percent to 1.0 percent.


Bucking the trend, gold miner Evolution Mining is gaining more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising more than 1 percent after gold prices rose slightly overnight.


In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7000, up from $0.6976 on Monday.


Some of the regional markets are closed for New Year's Eve, including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are lower, while Singapore is little changed.


On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Monday, partly reflecting profit taking, with traders cashing in on the recent strength in the markets ahead of the new year. Trading activity was relatively subdued, however, as some traders remained away from their desks ahead of the New Year's Day holiday on Wednesday.


The Dow fell 183.12 points or 0.6 percent to 28,462.14, the Nasdaq dropped 60.62 points or 0.7 percent to 8,945.99 and the S&P 500 slid 18.73 points or 0.6 percent to 3,221.29.


The major European markets also moved to the downside on Monday. While the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 0.9 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index slid by 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.


Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and ended slightly lower on Monday, snapping a four-session winning streak. WTI crude for February ended down $0.04 at $61.68 a barrel.




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