By RTT News, October 17, 2013, 11:49:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly trading higher on Friday with investors picking up stocks, betting on a slightly better outlook for the global economy following the U.S. government's decision to increase borrowing authority and end the partial shutdown.
The Australian stock market is trading firm, hitting a five-and-a-half year high, with investors indulging in some strong buying in several blue chip stocks from across various sectors.
Stocks from financial, property trusts, telecommunications and healthcare sections are mostly trading higher, while energy and mining stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 35.6 points or 0.7 percent at 5,318.7. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 5,318, up 36.1 points or 0.7 percent from its previous close.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are up 0.7 to 1 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is up marginally and Bank of Queensland is adding about 0.8 percent.
Among miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are trading flat, while Fortescue Metals and Newcrest Mining are trading higher by 1.5 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy and Oil Search are trading flat. Santos is down 1.1 percent and Caltex Australia is up 0.5 percent.
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory shares are up 8.6 percent following diary cooperative Murray Goulburn entering the takeover battle for the company's shares, trumping rival bidders with an A$420 million offer.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher against the U.S. dollar. Around noon, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9622, up 0.7 percent from Thursday's close of US$0.9552.
After a flat start, the Japanese stock market slipped into the red in early trades, with investors taking some profits after seven successive days of gains. Though the market managed to bounce back a little later, it faltered again due to lack of support at higher levels and was down marginally when the morning session ended.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which declined to 13,536.8 and rallied to around 14,610 subsequently, was down 8.2 points at 14,578.3 at the end of the morning session.
Oki Electric Industry Co. shares were up nearly 5 percent at the break. Sumco Corp. gained over 3.5 percent.
Daikin Industries, Advantest Corp. ( ATE ), Nippon Paper Industries, Nippon Yusen KK, Furukawa Electric, Heiwa Real Estate, East Japan Railway, Sumitomo Realty & Development and Shinsei Bank gained 1 to 3 percent.
Meanwhile, JFE Holdings, Pioneer Corp., Sony Financial Holdings, Yokohama Rubber, Tokio Marine Holdings, NTT Data Corp., Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Minebea declined by 1 to 3.5 percent. Bridgestone Corp. shares lost around 1.5 percent following the company closing down one of its units.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded around 98 yen in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 98.08 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong and Taiwan are trading notably higher. Shanghai, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are up marginally and New Zealand is trading flat, while Indonesia is trading modestly lower.
On Wall Street, stocks recovered in late trading on Thursday after exhibiting weakness early on in the session. Profit taking following Wednesday's rally contributed to the initial weakness on Wall Street, but selling pressure waned not long after the open.
The Dow edged down 2.2 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 15,371.6, while the Nasdaq rose 23.7 points or 0.6 percent to 3,863.2 and the S&P 500 advanced 11.6 points or 0.7 percent to 1,733.2.
Major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index crept up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index ended lower by 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil plummeted to end at a more than three-month low on Thursday, on demand growth uncertainties notwithstanding the agreement in Washington over the government shutdown and debt ceiling issues. Investor concerns surfaced after some industry data showed U.S. crude oil stockpiles to have jumped more than expected last week.
Crude for November delivery dropped $1.62 or 1.6 percent to close at $100.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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