Asian Shares Rise On Upbeat US Data

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks rose on Friday to extend gains from the previous session after separate surveys showed U.S. private payrolls and the services industry rebounding last month.

News that U.S.-China trade talks were back on the table also supported sentiment ahead of release of U.S. jobs data for August due later in the day.

Chinese stocks rose as Beijing continued to emphasize support for the economy. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 13.74 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2,999.60 and ended the week up 3.9 percent, marking its best weekly gain since late June.

"(We) will use both broad and targeted RRR cuts in a timely manner as tools to guide financial institutions to guide more funds into inclusive finance, and ramp up support for the real economy," China's cabinet said in a meeting on Wednesday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended up 0.66 percent at 26,690.76 despite global rating agency Fitch Ratings downgrading Hong Kong's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating.

The rating agency observed that ongoing demonstrations have done long-lasting damage to international perceptions about the effectiveness of Hong Kong's governance system and rule of law.

Japanese shares closed higher for the fourth day running as the yen retreated against the dollar on the back of upbeat U.S. data and amid comments from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda suggesting that cutting interest rates further into the negative zone is always an option.

The Nikkei average inched up 113.63 points, or 0.54 percent, to 21,199.57, while the broader Topix index closed 0.17 percent higher at 1,537.10.

Honda Motor jumped as much as 3 percent and Panasonic gained 1.8 percent as the dollar climbed to a one-month high against the yen. Market heavyweight SoftBank declined 2.7 percent while Fast Retailing rose 1.8 percent.

Daiwa Securities rose 0.9 percent after it announced a capital alliance with credit card company Credit Saison. Shares of the latter rallied 2.2 percent.

Rakuten slumped 5.2 percent on a Nikkei report that the e-commerce group will delay the commercial launch of its wireless carrier service by six months due to slow progress in building the network.

On the data front, a government report revealed that the average household spending in Japan rose an annual 0.8 percent in July, matching expectations.

Australian shares eked out modest gains amid signs of a slight thaw in U.S.-China relations. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inched up 34.10 points, or 0.52 percent, to 6,647.30 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 31.90 points, or 0.47 percent, at 6,752.70.

Tech stocks paced the gainers after the Nasdaq Composite index closed up above 8000 points overnight. Afterpay Touch soared 4.1 percent and Computershare jumped 3.2 percent.

Rare earths producer Lynas Corp added 2.9 percent after it signed a pact with a city in Western Australia to explore a potential initial ore processing site.

Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto rose 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group gained 1.7 percent after completing a $600 million bond offering. The big four banks rose between 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent.

Gold miners Evolution, Newcrest, Northern Star, Regis Resources and Saracen Mineral Holdings lost 2-5 percent as gold fell its most in a day for 2019 on news that the U.S. and China plan to hold talks next month.

In economic news, investors shrugged off survey data showing that the construction sector in Australia continued to contract in August, albeit at a slower pace.

Seoul stocks extended gains for the third day as trade concerns abated and solid U.S. data helped ease global growth worries. The benchmark Kospi edged up 4.38 points, or 0.22 percent, to close at 2,009.13. Technology firms, financials and shipbuilders paced the gainers.

New Zealand shares rose sharply to hit a record high. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 112.32 points or 1.01 percent to 11.218.19, posting a second consecutive weekly gain.

Dairy firms A2 Milk and Synlait Milk jumped around 2 percent while Fonterra Shareholders Fund declined 2 percent after deferring full-year results.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was little changed. A measure of the country's consumer confidence eased slightly in August, but households remained optimistic, the Bank Indonesia said.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose to close at their best levels in over a month as China announced the 13th round of high-level talks in its official media and investors cheered data showing U.S. services sector activity accelerated in August and private employers boosted hiring.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index spiked 1.8 percent and the S&P 500 advanced 1.3 percent.

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