Asian stock markets are mixed on Thursday following the lackluster cues overnight from Wall Street. Tech stocks are advancing on upbeat corporate earnings results from their U.S. peers as well as Samsung Electronics, while financial stocks are weak.
The continued increase in U.S. Treasury yields weighed on investor sentiment. Concerns that rising inflation may lead the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates faster than previously expected have recently pushed yields higher.
The Australian market, which was closed on Wednesday for a public holiday, is edging higher following the mostly positive cues from Wall Street. Gains in oil and gold mining stocks were offset by weakness in banks and mining stocks.
In late-morning trades, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 7.10 points or 0.12 percent to 5,928.70, off a high of 5,931.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 7.60 points or 0.13 percent to 6,017.00.
Oil stocks are higher after a rise in crude oil prices overnight. Oil Search is adding 0.7 percent, Santos is rising almost 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is advancing 1 percent.
Gold miners are modestly higher despite gold prices hitting a monthly low overnight. Evolution Mining is adding 0.2 percent and Newcrest Mining is up 0.1 percent.
Newcrest Mining reported a 6 percent decline in gold production for the March quarter and also lowered its outlook for full-year gold output, citing a dam collapse that halted operations at its biggest mine.
In the banking sector, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are lower in a range of 0.6 percent to 0.8 percent. Shares of Westpac are down more than 2 percent.
Mining stocks are also mostly lower. BHP Billiton is declining 0.4 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing more than 1 percent, while Rio Tinto is adding 0.6 percent.
Coles' food and liquor sales rose in the third quarter, with parent company Wesfarmers attributing the increase to lower prices as well as improved service and quality for customers. Shares of Wesfarmers are declining more than 1 percent.
In economic news, Australia will on Thursday release first-quarter numbers for import and export prices.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar fell to a new four-month low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local unit was trading at US$0.7572, down from US$0.7785 on Tuesday.
The Japanese market is rising, with the mostly positive cues from Wall Street and a weaker yen lifting investor sentiment. Tech stocks are among the major gainers following upbeat earnings results from their U.S. peers overnight.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 107.59 points or 0.48 percent to 22,322.91, off a high of 22,381.66 earlier.
In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is gaining more than 10 percent, Advantest is rising more than 4 percent and Alps Electric is higher by more than 3 percent.
The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is advancing more than 1 percent, Panasonic is up 0.5 percent, Sony is rising 0.4 percent and Canon is adding 0.2 percent.
Among automakers, Toyota is adding 0.6 percent and Honda is rising 0.3 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down less than 0.1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing 0.3 percent.
In the oil space, Inpex is adding 0.5 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is higher by 0.4 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.
Among the market's best performers, Screen Holdings is rising more than 4 percent and Sumco Corp. is higher by almost 4 percent.
On the flip side, Toyobo Co. is declining more than 3 percent, JXTG Holdings is down more than 2 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is lower by almost 2 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 109 yen-range on Thursday.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand and Taiwan are higher, while Indonesia, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore are lower.
On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Wednesday in choppy trading that reflected uncertainty about the outlook for the markets amid a continued increase in U.S. treasury yields. Traders may also have been reluctant to make more significant moves amid a lack of major U.S. economic data on the day.
While the Nasdaq edged down 3.61 points or 0.1 percent to 7,003.74, the Dow rose 59.70 points or 0.3 percent to 24,083.83 and the S&P 500 inched up 4.84 points or 0.2 percent to 2,639.40.
The major European markets moved to the downside on Wednesday. While the German DAX Index slumped by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both slid by 0.6 percent.
Crude oil futures edged higher Wednesday despite a significant build in U.S. oil inventories. WTI crude for June delivery rose $0.35 or 0.5 percent to close at $68.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.