(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Monday, following broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday. The markets are cautious amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the region, particularly in Japan and India, as well as the possibility of lockdowns in several markets. A couple of major markets are also closed for a holiday. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday.

The Australian stock market is edging up on Monday, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark, as strong local manufacturing PMI data and easing long term bond yields boosted banking stocks. Trader will also focus on the Reserve Bank of Australia monetary policy decision due Tuesday. However, the cues from Wall Street on Friday were broadly negative.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 2.40 points or 0.03 percent to 7,028.20, after touching a high of 7,068.40 earlier. However, the broader All Ordinaries Index is down 5.70 points or 0.08 percent to 7,285.00. Australian stocks closed significantly lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is edging down 0.5 percent, while Mineral Resources is gaining more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto is inching up 0.2 percent and Fortescue Metals is up almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are lower after crude oil prices tumbled. Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Santos are losing almost 1 percent each. The big four banks are higher. National Australia Bank is gaining almost 2 percent, Westpac is adding more than 4 percent, ANZ Banking is up more than 1 percent and Commonwealth Bank is rising almost1 percent. Westpac’s half-year profits rebounded to soar 256 percent from the same period last year to $3.5 billion, higher than the $3.3 billion expected by analysts. The bank also said it will pay a 58 cent interim dividend after scrapping last year’s payout. It also announced a major plan to slash its cost base by more than $2 billion over the next three years.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay is losing almost 1 percent and WiseTech Global is down almost 3 percent, while Appen is inching up 0.2 percent.

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