(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mixed on Friday amid worries about trade wars as the U.S. is expected to unveil tariffs of about $50 billion in Chinese imports, while Beijing has said it will retaliate if the U.S. imposes tariffs. The Euro slipped after the European Central Bank indicated plans to wind down its bond buying program and pledged to keep interest rates on hold for at least a year.
The Australian market is advancing following the mostly positive cues from Wall Street and on higher commodity prices. Stocks are gaining across the board.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 59.70 points or 0.99 percent to 6,076.30. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 57.60 points or 0.94 percent to 6,187.20.
In the banking space, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.3 percent.
Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is advancing almost 1 percent and BHP Billiton is adding 0.5 percent following a surge in iron ore prices, while Fortescue Metals is down 0.1 percent.
BHP Billiton said it will spend A$3.9 billion to develop its majority-owned South Flank iron ore mine in the central Pilbara, creating more than 600 permanent jobs.
Gold miner Evolution Mining is rising more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is gaining more than 2 percent after gold prices rose to a one-month high.
Oil stocks are also higher after an increase in crude oil prices. Santos is gaining almost 2 percent, while Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are rising more than 1 percent each.
Sirtex Medical has accepted a A$1.87 billion takeover offer from China's CDH Genetech and has terminated the scheme with Varian Medical Systems which has declined to offer a matching or superior proposal. The biotechnology and medical device company's shares are rising almost 4 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local unit was trading at US$0.7465, down from US$0.7553 on Thursday.
The Japanese market has pared initial strong gains and is modestly higher following the mostly positive cues from Wall Street and on a weaker yen.
Investors turned cautious ahead of the Bank of Japan's monetary policy decision due later in the day. The central bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at -0.1 percent, although it may tinker with other forms of stimulus.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 67.24 points or 0.30 percent to 22,805.85, off a high of 22,885.84.
Among the major exporters, Canon is lower by 0.2 percent, Panasonic is down 0.3 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 1 percent, while Sony is advancing almost 1 percent.
Automaker Toyota is rising more than 1 percent while Honda is losing 0.4 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.6 percent.
Among oil stocks, Inpex is adding almost 1 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is higher by more than 1 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.
Among the market's best performers, Taiyo Yuden is gaining almost 10 percent, Daiichi Sankyo is rising more than 3 percent and TDK Corp. is higher by almost 3 percent.
On the flip side, Tokuyama Corp. and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 5 percent, Advantest is lower by almost 4 percent and Screen Holdings is down more than 3 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 110 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand and Hong Kong are also higher, while Shanghai, South Korea and Taiwan are lower. The stock markets in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are closed on Friday in observance of Eid-ul-Fitr.
On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Thursday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing to a new record closing high on continued strength in media stocks, and the narrower Dow closing lower for the third straight day after a notable decline by shares of industrial conglomerate General Electric.
The Nasdaq advanced 65.34 points or 0.9 percent to 7,761.04 and the S&P 500 rose 6.86 points or 0.3 percent to 2,782.49, while the Dow edged down 25.89 points or 0.1 percent at 25,175.31.
The major European markets moved significantly higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank indicated plans to wind down its bond buying program and pledged to keep interest rates on hold for at least a year.
While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index surged up by 1.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures rose Thursday, settling at a 2-week high despite rumors that OPEC will ramp up production. WTI crude added $0.25 to close at $66.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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