Asian Markets Follow Wall Street Lower

Asian stock markets are lower on Friday, tracking the weak cues from U.S. and European markets overnight, while the U.S. dollar extended losses as major central banks indicated that tighter monetary policy is on the way. Investors shrugged off data showing that the manufacturing sector in China continued to expand in June at a faster pace.

The Australian market is notably lower, tracking the significantly weak cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors are also taking profits on the last day of the financial year and are awaiting the release of Chinese manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI data later in the day.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 78.50 points or 1.35 percent to 5,739.60, off a low of 5,732.90. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 75.90 points or 1.30 percent to 5,780.00.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton is losing more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto is down 0.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by more than 2 percent.

South32 has again suspended operations at its Appin underground coal mine in NSW over concerns of a build-up of methane gas levels. The miner’s shares are down more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak despite crude oil prices rising overnight for a sixth straight session. Woodside Petroleum and Santos are declining almost 2 percent each, while Oil Search is lower by more than 1 percent.

The big four banks – ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac – are down in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent.

Gold miners are mixed. Newcrest Mining is rising 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is down almost 1 percent.

Dreamworld amusement park owner Ardent Leisure has appointed Geoff Richardson, the former CFO of risk assessment company SAI Global, as its interim CFO. Shares of the company are losing more than 6 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday, aided by a rebound in iron ore price. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7682, up from US$0.7664 on Thursday.

In economic news, Australia will provide May numbers for private sector credit.
The Japanese market is declining, tracking the negative lead overnight from Wall Street and a stronger yen. Investors are cautious as they digest a raft of local economic data.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 234.70 points or 1.16 percent to 19,985.60, off a low of 19,946.51 earlier.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger…

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