Asian Markets Mixed On Final Trading Day Of 2017
(RTTNews.com) – Asian stock markets are mixed amid thin trading volumes on Friday, the last trading day of 2017, following the modest gains overnight on Wall Street that partly reflected window dressing as investors looked to polish their portfolios going into the end of the year. The markets in Asia have gained significantly this year amid a recovery in global economic growth.
The Australian market is declining in the last session of 2017, despite the modest gains overnight on Wall Street and a rise in commodity prices. Gains by miners were more than offset by weakness in banking and oil stocks.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 32.00 points or 0.53 percent to 6,056.10, off a low of 6,051.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 30.70 points or 0.50 percent to 6,158.70.
In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is declining 0.5 percent, Oil Search is lower by 0.2 percent and Santos is down 0.1 percent despite crude oil prices edging higher overnight.
Meanwhile, the major miners are mostly higher. BHP Billiton is adding 0.1 percent and Rio Tinto is up 0.5 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down almost 1 percent.
Gold miners are mixed despite gold prices extended gains to a sixth straight session overnight. Newcrest Mining is adding more than 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is losing 0.2 percent.
QBE Insurance said it has agreed to pay A$132.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit by its shareholders who were angry about a plunge in its share price in 2013. The insurance giant’s shares are losing 0.6 percent.
Confectionery maker Yowie Group has placed its shares in a trading halt ahead of a company announcement.
On the economic front, Australia will see November results for private sector credit today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is little changed against the U.S. dollar on Friday. In early trades, the local unit was quoted at US$0.7794, compared to US$0.7797 on Thursday.
The Japanese market rebounded from losses in the previous session and is modestly higher, tracking the positive cues overnight from Wall Street and a slightly weaker yen.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 39.15 points or 0.17 percent to 22,823.13, off a high of 22,871.39 in early trades.
The major exporters are mostly higher. Panasonic is rising 0.3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.2 percent and Sony is edging higher by less than 0.1 percent, while Canon is declining 0.2 percent.
Shares of SoftBank Group are adding 0.6 percent after a consortium led by the company bought an approximately 17.5 percent stake in Uber in a deal that values the ride-hailing giant at about $48 billion.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by 0.7 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is advancing 0.5 percent.
Among automakers, Honda is flat, while Toyota is declining 0.2 percent. In the oil space, Inpex is adding 0.3 percent, while Japan Petroleum Exploration is down 0.5 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.
Among the market’s best performers, Nippon Sheet Glass and Asahi Glass are rising more than 2 percent each, while Tokai Carbon is adding almost 2 percent.
On the flip side, Yahoo Japan and J. Front Retailing are declining more than 1 percent each.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 112 yen-range on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia are also higher, while Singapore, New Zealand and Malaysia are lower. The South Korean market is closed and will resume trading only on January 2.
On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Thursday in another lackluster performance, partly having reflected so-called window dressing, as investors looked to polish their portfolios going into the end of the year. Nonetheless, many traders remained away from their desks ahead of the New Year’s weekend, leading to another light trading day.
The Dow climbed 63.21 points or 0.3 percent to 24,837.51, the Nasdaq edged up 10.82 points or 0.2 percent to 6,950.16 and the S&P 500 rose 4.92 points or 0.2 percent to 2,687.54.
European stocks mostly moved to the downside on Thursday. The German DAX Index slid by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index dropped by 0.6 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index closed just above the unchanged line.
Crude oil prices continued to rise Thursday, touching fresh 2-year highs after another drop in U.S. oil inventories. West Texas Intermediate oil for February ended up $0.20 or 0.3 percent at $59.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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