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 January 11, 2016 - 12:41 PM EST
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Asian Markets Mostly Higher Amid Cautious Trades

CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday amid cautious trades, with some of the markets advancing on bargain hunting following the steep losses over the past few sessions. The Chinese market edged lower in choppy trade after opening slightly higher, while the yuan continued to stabilize.

The Australian market opened higher after seven straight days of losses, despite the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street and another fall in crude oil prices. Banks are among the leading gainers, while mining and energy stocks continued to be weighed down by lower commodity prices.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index is adding 41.10 points or 0.83 percent to 4,973.30, off a high of 4,977.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 38.50 points or 0.77 percent to 5,029.20.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 1.2 percent to 2 percent.

In the mining sector, BHP Billiton is losing almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is down almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by 0.3 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is lower by more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down more than 2 percent following the decline in gold prices.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is lower by more than 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is losing 0.4 percent and Santos is declining more than 3 percent.

Whitehaven Coal reported a 67 percent jump in coal sales for the quarter ended December, while production more than doubled. Shares of the company are gaining more than 2 percent.

Building products group James Hardie Industries affirmed its outlook for full-year profit despite uncertainty in the

housing market. The company's shares are up 0.3 percent.

Energy Resources of Australia reported a 12 percent increase in production for the December quarter. The company also said it is undertaking a strategic review of the Ranger uranium mine expects to update shareholders in March. Shares of the uranium miner, owned by Rio Tinto, are down more than 6 percent.

In economic news,

will provide November numbers for credit card purchases and balances later today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the

dollar on Tuesday as global risk appetite recovered slightly. In early trades, the local unit was trading at $0.6984, up from Monday's close of $0.6966.

The Japanese market, which resumed trading after being closed on Monday for a public holiday, is declining for a sixth straight session amid continuing worries about the Chinese economy. Mining and oil stocks are down with notable losses on weak commodity prices.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 319.67 points or 1.81 percent to 17,378.29, off a low of 17357.61 earlier.

The major exporters are lower. Panasonic is losing 2 percent, Sony is declining more than 3 percent and Toshiba is lower by almost 3 percent. In addition, Casio Computer is down more than 2 percent and Canon is declining more than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, shares of Sharp Corp. are gaining almost 1 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that the company may spin off its beleaguered LCD business and have a public-private fund take a majority stake in the remaining company.

ANA Holdings will buy an 8.8 percent stake in Vietnam Airlines in the summer under a planned partnership that includes a code-sharing arrangement. However, the company's shares are losing 1.5 percent.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing and SoftBank are lower by 1 percent each. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by 2.6 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down more than 2 percent and Mizuho Financial Group is losing almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks Inpex and JX Holdings are falling almost 5 percent each. Sumitomo Metal Mining is down almost 6 percent, while Mitsui Mining & Smelting and Nippon Electric Glass are losing more than 3 percent each, Yokogawa Electric is losing almost 3 percent and DeNA Co. is down 2.7 percent.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Finance said that

posted a current account surplus of 1,143.5 billion yen in November, up 159.8 percent on year. The headline figure exceeded expectations for a surplus of 895.0 billion following the 1,458.4 billion yen surplus in October.

The Bank of Japan said that the total value of overall bank lending in

was up 2.2 percent on year in December, coming in at 496.715 trillion yen. That was shy of forecasts for an increase of 2.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the November reading.
will also see December results for its consumer confidence index and the eco watchers survey later today.

In the currency market, the

dollar is trading in the upper 117 yen-range in
on Tuesday. The
market was closed on Monday for a holiday.

Elsewhere in

South Korea
New Zealand
Hong Kong
are up with modest gains.
are down marginally.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction and ended the session mixed on Monday as traders seemed reluctant to get back into the markets, with ongoing concerns about the global economy limiting any bargain hunting. The lack of major

economic data released on the day may also have made traders reluctant to make any significant moves.

While the Nasdaq edged down 5.64 points or 0.1 percent to 4,637.99, the Dow rose 52.12 points or 0.3 percent to 16,398.57 and the S&P 500 inched up 1.64 points or 0.1 percent to 1,923.67.

The major European markets moved to the downside on Monday. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the

FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures hit new 12-year lows Monday as the rout in equities continued unabated amid concerns about the global economy. WTI crude for February plunged $1.75 or 5.3 percent to settle at $31.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Source: News (January 11, 2016 - 12:41 PM EST)

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