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Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend
(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are exhibiting a mixed trend on Friday, with investors mostly treading cautiously following the overnight flat close on Wall Street. A lack of fresh triggers from the region and some profit taking are also contributing to the lackluster moves in some of the markets.
In the Australian market, bargain hunting after recent losses is lifting stocks from consumer discretionary, energy and financial sectors. Healthcare, industrial and property trusts stocks are also trading firm, while mining stocks are mostly flat.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is trading at 5,246.6, up 44.4 points or 0.8 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 43.6 points or 0.8 percent at 5,245.6.
In the banking space, ANZ Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are up 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading higher by 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Bank of Queensland is advancing 1.3 percent, while Bank of Queensland is up marginally.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) is up 0.5 percent, while Rio Tinto (RIO) is down marginally.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 1.3 to 2 percent, while Caltex Australia is trading weak, losing about 0.6 percent.
PanAust is up more than 6.5 percent. Oz Minerals is adding 5.5 percent and WorleyParsons is up 4.8 percent. QBE Insurance Group, Mineral Resources, UGL, Henderson Group, Qantas Airways, Incitec Pivot, Harvey Norman Holdings and Whitehaven Coal are up 2.5 to 4 percent.
Brambles, Twenty-First Century Fox, Investa Office Fund and Mirvac Group are also up sharply.
Telstra Corporation Limited shares are up more than a percent following an announcement from the company that it would sell its stake in Hong Kong mobile business CSL for around A$2 billion.
Meanwhile, Recall Holdings, Newcrest Mining and Myer Holdings are trading weak, losing 2.8 to 4 percent. Metcash, Regis Resources and Newcrest Mining are also trading notably lower.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened slightly higher against the U.S. dollar. Around noon, the local unit was quoting at US$0.8867, up 0.2 percent from Thursday's close of US$0.8847.
The Japanese market drifted lower, with investors indulging in some profit taking after the previous session's strong upmove that saw the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index hitting its highest close since December 2007. Investors appear to be waiting for the outcome of the Bank of Japan's two-day policy meeting that ends later in the day.
The overnight flat close on Wall Sreet and a lack of fresh triggers from the home front are also contributing to the weakness in the market. However, the yen's continued weakness against the U.S. dollar halted the slide to an extent.
The Nikkei 225 index, which declined to 15,755.4, was down 79.3 points or 0.5 percent at 15,779.9 at the end of the morning session.
Nissan Motor, Japan Tobacco, Terumo Corp., Sumco Corp., KDDI Corp. and Nippon Paper Industries lost 2 to 3.3 percent.
Citizen Holdings, Isuzu Motors, Marui Group, Nitto Boseki, Astellas Pharma, Shinsei Bank, Advantest Corp. (ATE), MS&AD Insurance Co., Sapporo Holdings, Tokyo Electric Power, Shionogi & Co., Chiba Bank, Sharp Corp., J Front Retailing, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Suzuki Motor were down 1 to 2 percent at the break.
Among the gainers, Fujitsu, Toto, Sumitomo Osaka Cement, Mazda Motor and Yokohama Rubber moved up by 1.5 to 2 percent. Sekisui House, Oji Holdings, Amada Co., Nisshin Steel Holdings, Toho Co., Fast Retailing, Ebara Corp. and Nikon Corp. also posted notable gains.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar hovered around 104.25 yen in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 104.37 against the U.S. dollar, after weakening to 104.42.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore are trading marginally higher, while Hong Kong, Shanghai, Malaysia and New Zealand are trading weak.
On Wall Street, stocks closed roughly flat on Thursday after turning in a lackluster performance, with traders refraining from making significant moves after the previous session's sharp upmove. A batch of disappointing economic data too weighed on the market to an extent.
The major averages eventually ended the day mixed, with the Dow posting a modest gain. The Dow inched up 11.1 points or 0.1 percent to 16,179.1, while the Nasdaq dipped 11.9 points or 0.3 percent to 4,058.1 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.1 points or 0.1 percent to 1,809.6.
Major European markets ended higher on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index surged up by 1.4 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index soared by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended higher on Thursday, on improved demand outlook and after the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to slash its monthly bond-buying program by $10 billion, following its two-day policy review meet on Wednesday.
Crude for February delivery, the most actively traded contract, gained $0.98 or 1.0 percent to close at $99.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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