(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets, led by Japan, are mostly higher on Friday following the overnight gains on Wall Street, with investor sentiment bolstered by the Federal Reserve's positive outlook for the U.S. economy in addition to upbeat U.S. economic data.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the U.S. economy does not face a large chance of a recession in the next two years. The Japanese yen weakened as part of a broader advance in the U.S. dollar following the Federal Reserve rate decision.
The Australian market is advancing following the overnight rally on Wall Street reflecting upbeat economic data and a gain by shares of tech giant Apple. Mining and oil stocks are among the leading gainers.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 32.70 points or 0.53 percent to 6,213.90, off a high of 6,215.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 33.10 points or 0.53 percent to 6,332.40. Australian shares closed slightly lower on Thursday.
In the mining space, BHP Billiton is advancing almost 1 percent and Rio Tinto is adding 0.4 percent while Fortescue Metals is losing more than 1 percent.
Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is higher by 0.6 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising almost 1 percent despite a 1 percent fall in gold prices overnight.
Oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices rose overnight. Oil Search is up 0.3 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are higher by more than 1 percent each.
In the banking space, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are advancing in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.6 percent.
Shares of Westpac are down 0.6 percent after the bank said late Thursday that its full-year cash earnings would take a hit of A$235 million due to a provision for compensation and litigation after it overcharged customers for financial services. The lender has also reached a deal to sell boutique fund manager Ascalon to Generation Development Group.
Telstra has refunded a total of A$9.3 million to more than 70,000 customers after a court ordered the company to pay penalties for false or misleading representations about charges for digital content. Shares of Telstra are rising 0.5 percent.
In economic news, Australia will release August numbers for private sector credit today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7207, compared to $0.7226 on Thursday.
The Japanese market is notably higher following the overnight rally on Wall Street and a weaker yen. Investors also digested a raft of local economic data, including industrial output, retail sales and consumer prices.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 324.99 points or 1.37 percent to 24,121.73, after touching a high of 24,136.91 earlier. Japanese shares snapped an eight-day winning streak to close lower on Thursday.
The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Sony is gaining more than 3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is higher by more than 1 percent and Canon is rising 0.7 percent, while Panasonic is declining 0.4 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are advancing more than 1 percent each.
Among oil stocks, Inpex is adding more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is higher by almost 1 percent.
Among the major gainers, Furukawa Co. is rising more than 4 percent, while JGC Corp., Nitto Denko and SoftBank are all higher by more than 3 percent each.
A joint venture between SoftBank and China'sDidi Chuxing has launched a taxi-hailing service in Japan'sOsaka Prefecture on Thursday.
On the flip side, Fujikura is losing almost 2 percent, while Toray Industries, Ricoh Co. and Taiyo Yuden are lower by more than 1 percent each.
In economic news, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in Friday's preliminary reading that industrial production in Japan climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent on month in August. That was shy of forecasts for an increase of 1.4 percent following the 0.1 percent decline in July.
The value of retail sales in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent on month in August, beating forecasts for an increase of 0.5 percent and up from 0.1 percent in July.
The jobless rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent in August, - beneath expectations for 2.5 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month.
Consumer prices in the Tokyo region were up 1.3 percent on year in September. That exceeded expectations for 1.1 percent and was up from 1.2 percent in August.
Core CPI, which excludes the costs of fresh food, advanced an annual 1.0 percent - also above expectations for 0.9 percent, which would have been unchanged.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 113 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hong Kong are also higher, while South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are lower.
On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday following a notable advance by shares of Apple after J.P. Morgan initiated coverage of the company's stock with an overweight rating. Traders were also reacting to a slew of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a much bigger than expected jump in durable goods orders in the month of August.
The Nasdaq climbed 51.60 points or 0.7 percent to 8,041.97, while the Dow edged up 54.65 points or 0.2 percent to 26,439.93 and the S&P 500 rose 8.03 points or 0.3 percent to 2,914.00.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both climbed by 0.5 percent.
Crude oil futures rose on Thursday with traders betting on possible short supply in the market post implementation of sanctions on Iranian oil from November. WTI crude for November delivery rose $0.55 or 0.8 percent to $72.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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