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Asian Markets Mostly Higher In Holiday-thinned Trade

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(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Thursday in holiday-thinned trade following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street amid optimism about U.S. fiscal stimulus after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they will continue talks on a new coronavirus relief bill.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange in Japan has suspended trading due to a technical issue, while the markets in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong are closed for holidays.

The Australian market is rising following the overnight gains on Wall Street and as data showed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand at a faster rate in September.

According to reports, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to announce later today that his government will make A$1.5 billion available to Australian manufacturers across six priority areas to boost production of goods in Australia.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 44.20 points or 0.76 percent to 5,860.10, off a high of 5,869.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 48.00 points or 0.80 percent to 6,057.30. Australian stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are rising more than 2 percent each, while Rio Tinto is advancing 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is advancing more than 1 percent, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are adding almost 1 percent each after crude oil prices rose overnight.

The big four banks – ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank – are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay is advancing more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is rising almost 1 percent, while Appen is down 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are mixed after gold prices declined overnight. Evolution Mining is rising 0.4 percent, while Newcrest Mining is down 0.4 percent.

In economic news, the latest survey from IHS Markit showed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in September, and at a faster rate, with a manufacturing PMI score of 55.4. That’s up from 53.6 in August and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore and Indonesia are rising more than 1 percent each, while New Zealand is also higher and Malaysia is lower. The markets in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong are closed for the Mid-Autumn Festival, while South Korea is closed for the Chuseok Festival.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday in volatile trading amid uncertainty about a potential agreement on a new coronavirus stimulus bill. The pullback by the major averages came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans and Democrats remain “far apart” on a deal. However, stocks rebounded as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed to reach an agreement after a meeting today, but indicated talks would continue.

The Dow jumped 329.04 points or 1.2 percent to 27,781.70, the Nasdaq climbed 82.26 points or 0.7 percent to 11,167.51 and the S&P 500 advanced 27.53 points or 0.8 percent to 3,363.00.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both fell by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices rebounded after early weakness on Wednesday as data showed a drop in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended September 25. WTI crude for November added $0.93 or about 2.4 percent at $40.22 a barrel.