(RTTNews.com) - Asian markets are trading weak on Friday, with investors indulging in some profit taking after recent gains. A weak lead from Wall Street and a lack of fresh triggers too appear to be contributing to the weak trend in the region.
In the Australian market, mining, financial and consumer discretionary stocks are trading weak. Healthcare stocks are finding some support, while energy, industrial and property trusts stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 5,208.2, is currently trading at 5,219.5, down 23 points or 0.4 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 22.1 points or 0.4 percent at 5,216.1.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are down 0.5 to 1 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are trading lower by about 1 percent. Macquarie Group shares are down 1.3 percent.
Miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are down 1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Myer Holdings is trading lower by 3.7 percent after the company reporting an 8.7 percent decline in full-year profit to A$127.2 million. Sales revenue for the year grew nearly 1.0 percent to A$3.14 billion.
ALS is down nearly 4 percent. Whitehaven Coal, Newcrest Mining, Aurora Oil & Gas, Alumina (AWC), Iluka Resources, Arrium and PanAust are trading lower by 2 to 3 percent.
Echo Entertainment Group, Lynas Corp., Sims Metal Management, Boral and Fortescue Metals are also trading notably lower.
Bucking the weak trend, Sydney Airport shares are trading in positive territory, gaining about 1.8 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher against the U.S. dollar. Around noon, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9263, up 0.2 percent from Thursday's close of US$0.9243.
The Japanese market opened notably lower on Friday, tracking a weak lead from Wall Street, but swiftly rallied into positive territory with stocks finding some support at lower levels.
However, the market retreated from higher levels amid cautious trades and was down in the red when the morning session ended.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which tumbled to 14,316.7 at the start but rallied to around 14,440 subsequently, was down 45.1 points or 0.3 percent at 14,342.1 at the end of the morning session.
Nippon Electric Glass, Sharp Corp., Konica Minolta, Sumitomo Chemical, Kawasaki Kiesn Kaisha, Nicherei Corp. and Mitsui OSK Lines lost 3 to 6 percent.
Shionogi, Nippon Yusen KK, T&D Holdings, Asahi Glass, Olympus Corp., Taiheiyo Cement, Japan Steel Works, Nippon Sheet Glass, JX Holdings and Kobe Steel were also down 1.5 to 2.8 percent.
Meanwhile, Yahoo Japan moved up nearly 4 percent. Amada Co., Mitsubishi Paper Mills, Minebea, Unitika, Tokio Marine Holdings, Fujitsu, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Isuzu Motors, Sony Financial Holdings and Credit Saison gained 1.5 to 2.5 percent.
In economic news, the Japanese government on Friday upgraded its assessment of the economy and said the deflation is ending, according to a monthly report from the Cabinet Office.
"The Japanese economy is on the way to recovery at a moderate pace," the government said in its September report, upgrading its assessment from August when it said the "economy is picking up steadily and showing some movements on the way to recovery."
"Recent price developments indicate that the deflation is ending," the Cabinet Office said, reiterating its view on the price situation.
It also upgraded view on capital spending, saying that business investment is showing movements of picking up, mainly among non-manufacturing industries. The August report said business investment is leveling off with some movements of picking up.
The industrial production data for July will be released later in the day. Little change is expected from last season's preliminary reading that suggested a 1.6 percent monthly gain and a 3.2 percent yearly increase.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the mid-99 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 99.77 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably lower. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are also trading weak, while New Zealand is up in positive territory with modest gains.
On Wall Street, stocks ended modestly lower on Thursday, after showing a lack of direction throughout the session. Profit taking and uncertainty about the outcome of next week's Federal Reserve meeting dragged down stock prices.
The Dow edged down by about 26 points or 0.2 percent to 15,300.6, the Nasdaq ended down 9 points or 0.2 percent at 3,716 and the S&P 500 closed lower by 5.7 points or 0.3 percent at 1,683.4.
Major European markets turned in a lackluster performance on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 index lost 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the German DAX index both closed nearly unchanged.
U.S. crude oil ended sharply higher for a second straight day on Thursday, as demand growth outlook improved and supply concerns that surfaced after a report from the International Energy Agency indicated a drop in OPEC crude oil supplies in August due to the Libyan crisis.
Crude for October delivery gained $1.04 or 1 percent to close at $108.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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