Asian Markets End Mostly Higher

( - Asian markets ended mostly higher on Friday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street. Buying interest was a bit subdued in some of the markets in the region, with investors staying a bit cautious due to concerns about global growth and doubts about U.S. and China agreeing on a long term trade deal anytime soon.

The Australian market ended higher, led by gains in Financial, healthcare and energy shares. Information technology, telecom, resources and industrials shares exhibited a mixed trend.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 57.10 points, or 1.02%, at 5,654.30 and the broader All Ordinaries index closed with a gain of 53.90 points, or 0.95%, at 5,716.00.

Orocobre surged up 5.7% and Emeco Holdings gained 5%. Bega Cheese Limited shares ended more than 3.5% up, Infigen Energy gained 3.5% and Galaxy Resources added 3.25%.

The Japanese market ended weak, with investors taking profits after recent strong gains. Some disappointing economic data too contributed to the weakness in the market.

The Nikkei 225 index ended down 62.85 points, or 0.31%, at 20,014.77.

Shares from pharmaceuticals, power and retail sections lost ground.

Fujikura surged up 3.6%, Furukawa Electric gained 4.2% and Toshiba Corp. ended nearly 3.5% up.

Mitsui Mining, Nissan Chemicals, Yahoo Japan, Okuma Corp., Sumitomo Metal Mining, Nitto Denko, Nippon Electric Glass, TDK, Sumitomo Chemical, Advantest Corp. and JTEKT Corp. gained 2 to 3%.

J Front Retailing, down nearly 9%, was the worst performer in the Nikkei index. Sumitomo Dainippon ended lower by about 5.5%. Sapporo Holdings, Familymart, TOTO, Takashimaya, Aeon and Otsuka Holdings ended lower by 3 to 5%.

On the economic front, the jobless rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.5% in November, according to data released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Economists had expected jobless rate to come in at 2.4%.

A report from the Ministry of Economy and Industry showed Japanese industrial production to have dropped down by a seasonally adjusted 1.1% on month in November, exceeding expectations for a decline of 1.5% following the 2.9% jump in October. On yearly basis, industrial production was up 1.4%.

Meanwhile, retail sales in Japan declined by a seasonally adjusted 1% in November, compared to a month earlier. That missed expectations for a decline of 0.4% following the 1.3% increase in October.

The Chinese market rebounded after previous session's setback. The Shanghai Composite Index ended up 0.44%, despite paring some gains.

The market was led higher by gains in financial, consumer staples, utilities, electricity and hospitality industry shares.

Information technology, insurance, energy and telecom stocks were weak.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined marginally. New Zealand's NZX 50 ended marginally up.

The South Korean market ended notably higher, with its benchmark KOSPI adding 0.62%, thanks to gains recorded by shares from chemicals, heavy industries, computer services and construction sectors.

Taiwan's major index Taiwan Weighted added 0.89%. Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia were little changed from previous closing levels, slightly ahead of the closing bell.

The Indian stock market was higher, extending recent gains. The Sensex and the Nifty were both up by nearly 1%.

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