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Asian stock markets mixed after Wall Street finishes lower

Asian stock markets

The S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.21 percent to 6,900.00, while the All Ordinaries Index advanced 0.15 percent to 7,169.40

Asian stock markets shows a mixed trend on Thursday after Wall Street finished mostly lower overnight as largely upbeat economic data added to optimism about the economic recovery, but raised concerns about inflation. Markets in China, which resumed trading after the Lunar New Year holidays, are notably higher.

The Australian market is modestly higher in choppy trade after mixed cues from Wall Street and after mixed corporate earnings results. Investors also turned cautious after Facebook said it has banned all Australian news content from its platform in response to a proposed law in the country.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 14.80 points or 0.21 percent to 6,900.00, after hitting a low of 6,875.30. The broader All Ordinaries Index is gaining 10.60 points or 0.15 percent to 7,169.40. Australian stocks finished lower on Wednesday after two days of gains.

The major miners are mostly higher. Fortescue Metals is gaining nearly 2 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing 0.4 percent, while BHP Group fell 0.6 percent.

Fortescue Metals reported a 66 percent rise in first-half profit and declared a higher interim dividend.

Oil stocks are mostly higher with modest gains even as crude oil prices advanced sharply overnight. Oil Search is rising 0.2 percent and Santos is edging up 0.1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is down more than 2 percent.

Woodside Petroleum reported a net loss for the full year reflecting writedowns, even as its production for the year surged to a record.

Among the big four banks, Westpac and ANZ Banking are adding more than 3 percent each, while National Australia Bank is rising 0.2 percent. Commonwealth Bank is falling more than 1 percent.

CSL’s net profit surged 44 percent for the first half of the year and raised its interim dividend. The biotech giant also said it has accelerated the production of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and plans to release the first doses in late March. Shares of CSL rose more than 3 percent.

Tech stocks are mostly falling, taking a cue from their U.S. peers. Appen is declining more than 3 percent and WiseTech Global is falling 0.6 percent, while Afterpay is adding nearly 3 percent.

Gold miners are mixed after gold prices dropped for a fourth consecutive session overnight. Evolution Mining is advancing nearly 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is dropping more than 2 percent.

News Corp said it has reached a three-year deal with Google to provide journalism from its news sites for Google News Showcase in return for significant payments by Google. Shares of News Corp. are dropped more than 1 percent.

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