Asian Markets Mostly Higher After Positive Wall Street Lead

By dpa-AFX International Compact

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Friday following the record highs overnight on Wall Street, while the U.S. dollar weakened as worries about trade tensions eased. Upbeat economic data also boosted sentiment. Crude oil prices declined overnight after U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweet that called on the OPEC members to lower crude prices.

The Australian market is rising following the gains on Wall Street as worries about U.S.-China trade tensions eased. Stocks are gaining across the board.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 36.90 points or 0.60 percent to 6,206.40, just off a high of 6,207.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 36.70 points or 0.58 percent to 6,313.60. Australian shares fell modestly on Thursday.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are advancing almost 2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is rising almost 4 percent despite a fall in copper and iron ore prices after two days of gains.

Gold miner Evolution Mining is adding almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising 0.5 percent after gold prices rose overnight.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are higher in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.9 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly advancing despite lower crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum is rising more than 1 percent and Oil Search is up 0.2 percent, while Santos is declining 0.5 percent.

Propertylink Group said that the Australian arm of real estate developer ESR Group has offered to acquire the company for A$693.2 million, with the offer subject to Propertylink not proceeding with its takeover offer for peer Centuria Industrial REIT. The real estate investment trust’s shares are gaining almost 8 percent.

Michael Hill International said it has hired Specialty Fashion’s Daniel Bracken as its chief executive after current CEO Phil Taylor resigned to deal with health problems. The jewelry chain’s shares are unchanged.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar continued to climb against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7292, up from $0.7257 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is advancing for the sixth straight day, following the positive cues from Wall Street and on a weaker yen. Investors also digested upbeat Japan manufacturing data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 124.91 points or 0.53 percent to 23,799.84, after touching a high of 23,864.04 in early trades. Japanese shares ended little changed on Thursday.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is rising almost 2 percent, Canon is adding 0.6 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is up 0.4 percent, while Sony is declining almost 2 percent.

Automaker Honda is advancing almost 1 percent and Toyota is rising 0.6 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is higher by more than 1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is up more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is gaining more than 2 percent.

Among the major gainers, Showa Denko and Kyocera are rising more than 4 percent each, while TDK Corp. and Pacific Metals are higher by almost 4 percent each.

On the flip side, Toto is losing more than 4 percent, Kao Corp. is declining more than 3 percent and Alps Electric is lower by almost 3 percent.

In economic news, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in September, and at an accelerated pace, with a manufacturing PMI score of 52.9. That’s up from 52.5 in August, and it moved further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that overall nationwide consumer prices in Japan were up 1.3 percent on year in August. That exceeded expectations for 1.1 percent and was up from 0.9 percent in July.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 112 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong are also higher, while New Zealand and Shanghai are modestly lower.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Thursday as traders continued to shrug off concerns about the escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Upbeat economic data also generated some positive sentiment, with a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims unexpectedly dipped to their lowest level in nearly fifty years in the week ended September 15.

The Dow jumped 251.22 points or 1 percent to 26,656.98, the Nasdaq surged up 78.19 points or 1 percent to 8,028.23 and the S&P 500 advanced 22.80 points or 0.8 percent to 2,930.75.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index advanced by 0.9 percent and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.1 percent.

Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and ended lower on Thursday. WTI crude for October delivery declined $0.38 to close at $70.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

This article provided by NewsEdge.