Asian Markets Mostly Higher On Wall Street Cues
(RTTNews.com) - Asian markets are mostly trading firm on Friday, tracking positive cues from Wall Street where the major averages ended higher overnight on some encouraging economic data. However, with a section of investors treading cautiously amid uncertainty about the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus plan, gains are just modest in some of the markets in the region.
The Australian market is trading firm, with investors picking up stocks, tracking positive cues from Wall Street where the major averages ended higher overnight on some encouraging economic data.
In the Australian market, energy, telecommunications and healthcare stocks are among the notable gainers. Consumer discretionary, mining, industrial and financial stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 12.9 points or 0.2 percent at 5,307.4. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 5,301.3, up 13.1 points or 0.3 percent from its previous close.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac (WBK) are up marginally, while National Australia Bank is trading flat. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up 0.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Top miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are up 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
Leighton Holdings is trading 3.3 percent higher. Iluka Resources, Santos, Downer EDI and Mineral Resources are up 2 to 2.6 percent.
Sims Metal Management, Aristocrat Leisure, Flight Centre, UGL, Perpetual Limited, Oil Search, Sonic Healthcare, Dexus Property Group and Computershare are trading higher by 1.5 to 2 percent.
Meanwhile, Newcrest Mining is trading lower by about 3.7 percent. Carsales.Com, Oz Minerals and Qantas Airways are also trading notably lower.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened slightly weak against the U.S. dollar. Around noon, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9338, down 0.5 percent from Thursday's close of US$0.9389.
After opening notably lower on the back of a surge in inflation, the Japanese market moved into the positive zone on selective buying, but faltered again towards the end of the morning session with investors turning cautious at higher levels following the yen gaining some ground against the greenback.
Electric power, insurance, steel, pharmaceuticals and rubber stocks opened on a firm note, while automobile, non-ferrous metals, mining, construction and glass & ceramics started off lower.
With front line stocks swinging between gains and losses, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 22.9 points or 0.2 percent at 14,776.2 when the morning session ended.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. shares gained over 8 percent after the company resumed trial operation of its water treatment system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that had been suspended due to corrosion-caused problems.
Yokohama Rubber moved up by over 6 percent. Japan Steel Works, Shinsei Bank, Kobe Steel, Kansai Electric Power and Unitika gained 3 to 4 percent.
Toshiba Corp., Oji Holdings Corp., Nippon Sheet Glass, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, Shionogi, Nomura Holdings, Pioneer Corp., Nikon Corp. and Sharp Corp. gained 1 to 2.8 percent.
Among the losers, SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings Inc. and Nippon Light Metal Holdings were down more than 3 percent.
Nitto Denko Corp., Advantest Corp. (ATE), Tokyo Electron, Konami Corp., Mitsumi Electric, Furukawa, Nippon Yusen KK and Olympus Corp. lost 1.5 to 3 percent.
Aozora Bank, Nippon Light Metal Holdings, Nitto Boseki, Nippon Yusen KK, Suzuki Motor, Toyota Motor (TM), Hino Motors, Advantest Corp. (ATE) and Japan Tobacco also traded weak.
On the economic front, core consumer prices in Japan were up 0.8 percent on year in August, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That beat forecasts for a gain of 0.7 percent, which would have been unchanged from the July reading.
Overall CPI was up 0.9 percent, also exceeding expectations for 0.8 percent after showing 0.7 percent in the previous month.
Core CPI for the Tokyo region, considered a leading indicator for the nationwide trend, was up 0.2 percent on year in September. That missed forecasts for 0.3 percent and was down from 0.4 percent in August.
Overall inflation in Tokyo was up an annual 0.5 percent - in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous month.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded slightly below 99 yen in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 98.72 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore are trading notably higher. Malaysia, New Zealand and South Korea are up with modest gains, while Shanghai and Hong Kong are up marginally.
On Wall Street, stocks ended higher on Thursday, despite giving back some ground after recording a strong upmove earlier in the day. An unexpected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended September 21 helped lift sentiment, while a bigger than expected decline in pending home sales in August limited the market's upside.
The Dow rose 55 points or 0.4 percent to 15,328.3, the Nasdaq advanced 26.3 points or 0.7 percent to 3,787.4 and the S&P 500 climbed 5.9 points or 0.4 percent to 1,698.7.
Major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index edged up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 index dipped by 0.2 percent and the German DAX index closed just below the unchanged line.
U.S. crude oil snapped a five-day loss to end higher on Thursday, mostly on some bargain hunting, notwithstanding a strong dollar and the brightening supply prospects with easing tensions in the Middle East, including Iran.
Crude for November delivery ended up $0.37 or 0.4 percent at $103.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after touching a low of $102.20 a barrel intraday.
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