Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Friday, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, on easing concerns over the outlook for interest rates after report showing initial jobless claims in the U.S. increased by much more than expected last week. The data seems to have added to optimism that the US Fed will pause its interest rate hikes. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.
The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, recouping some of the losses in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,100 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains across most sectors, led by miners and financial stocks. Energy stocks were weak amid tumbling crude oil prices.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 23.60 points or 0.33 percent to 7,123.30, after touching a high of 7,128.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 23.60 points or 0.32 percent to 7,311.90. Australian markets ended modestly lower on Thursday.
Among major miners, Mineral Resources is gaining more than 1 percent, BHP Group is adding almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.5 percent, while Rio Tinto is edging down 0.3 percent.
Oil stocks are lower. Santos, Beach energy and Woodside Energy are losing almost 1 percent each, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.1 percent.
Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent and Appen is slipping almost 4 percent, while WiseTech Global and Zip are advancing almost 2 percent. Xero is adding more than 1 percent.
Among the big four banks, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each, while National Australia Bank is gaining almost 1 percent.
Gold miners are strong. Gold Road Resources and Evolution Mining are gaining almost 2 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is adding almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.3 percent. Resolute Mining is flat.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.670 on Friday.
The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving above the 32,100 level to climb back toward fresh 33-year highs, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, boosted by gains across most sectors, led by technology and financial stocks.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 32,149.76, up 508.49 points or 1.61 percent, after touching a high of 32,240.05 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly lower on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is flat, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining more than 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 2 percent and Toyota is adding almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 1 percent and Screen Holdings is adding more than 2 percent, while Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.1 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are edging up 0.5 percent each.
Among major exporters, Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are adding almost 1 percent each, while Sony is gaining more than 2 percent. Panasonic is edging up 0.5 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Konami Group is surging almost 5 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo and Chugai Pharmaceutical are gaining almost 4 percent each. Itochu, Daikin Industries, Mitsui & Co., Kansai Electric Power and Marubeni are adding more than 3 percent each, while NEXON, Sapporo Holdings, Secom, Yaskawa Electric, Toyota Tsusho and Sumitomo Realty & Development are all up almost 3 percent each.
Conversely, there are no other major losers.
In economic news, the M2 money stock in Japan was up 2.7 percent on year in May, the Bank of Japan said on Friday – coming in at 1,236.4 trillion yen. That was in line with expectations following the upwardly revised 2.6 percent increase in April (originally 2.5 percent). The M3 money stock was up an annual 2.1 percent for the third straight month, now at 1,591.2 trillion yen. The M1 was up 4.4 percent at 1,073.4 trillion yen, while the L money stock rose 2.4 percent to 2,112.1 trillion yen.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 139 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea is up 1.0 percent and Taiwan is adding 0.9 percent, while China, Hong Kong and Malaysia are all up 0.1percent each. New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia are lower by between 0.1 and 0.3 percent each.
On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a significant rebound following the sharp pullback seen on Wednesday. With the upward move, the S&P 500 reached its best closing level in well over nine months.
The major averages ended the day just off their highs of the session. The Nasdaq jumped 133.63 points or 1.0 percent to 13,238.52, the S&P 500 climbed 26.41 points or 0.6 percent to 4,293.93 and the Dow rose 168.59 points or 0.5 percent to 33,833.61.
Meanwhile, the major European markets also finished the day mixed. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index inched up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent.
Crude oil prices regained ground after a midday sell-off but still ended Thursday’s trading session firmly in negative territory as concerns about the outlook for energy demand continued to weigh on the markets. West Texas Intermediate for July shed $1.24 or 1.7 percent at $71.29 a barrel.
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