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Asian stock markets mixed amid cautious trading

Asian stock markets

Traders are also looking ahead to the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting on Wednesday

Asian stock markets are mixed amid cautious trading on Wednesday, following negative cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders are uncertain about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent strength. Traders also continue to weigh the impact of a surge in coronavirus cases and extension of lockdown restrictions in several markets. Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

However, the IMF opened its spring meetings on Tuesday by forecasting the strongest global expansion in at least four decades for this year.

Traders are also looking ahead to the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, potentially shedding additional light on the outlook for interest rates.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, extending gains of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just above the 6,900 level at six-week highs, following gains in technology, mining and energy stocks on the back of upbeat local data.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 13.00 points or 0.19 percent to 6,898.90, after hitting a high of 6,932.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 14.40 points or 0.20 percent to 7,148.30. Australian stocks finished higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are all up nearly 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Appen and WiseTech Global are advancing nearly 1 percent, while Afterpay is nearly 4 percent higher.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is inching up 0.1 percent.

Westpac says its plan developed in response to a court-enforceable undertaking to submit an integrated plan for fixing risk governance problems has been approved by the banking regulator.

Gold miners are higher after the gold price jumped. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are up nearly 1 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is adding more than 2 percent. Resolute Mining and Perseus mining are advancing more than 5 percent each.

Oil stocks are higher, with Oil Search and Santos gaining nearly 1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is inching up 0.4 percent.

Shares in EML Payments are surging nearly 9 percent following news it would be entering the European open banking market with the acquisition of Sentenial Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, including its open banking product Nuapay.

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