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Asian Markets In Positive Territory

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Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Friday following the overnight gains on Wall Street as comments by New York Federal Reserve President John Williams raised hopes of a deeper than expected interest rate cut by the central bank later this month.

In addition, a positive revenue outlook from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings results from Microsoft Corp. boosted tech stocks in Asia.

The Australian market is rising following the positive cues from Wall Street amid growing optimism about a near-term interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Gold miners and banks are among the major gainers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 28.90 points or 0.43 percent to 6,678.00, while the broader All Ordinaries Index is higher by 27.80 points or 0.41 percent to 6,763.20. Australian stocks closed lower on Thursday.

Gold miners are notably higher after gold prices extended gains overnight. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 5 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising more than 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are advancing in a range of 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent.

National Australia Bank has appointed former Commonwealth Bank retail boss Ross McEwan as its new chief executive and managing director. The bank's shares are rising more than 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is lower by more than 2 percent, Santos is declining more than 1 percent and Oil Search is losing almost 1 percent after crude oil prices fell overnight.

The major miners are also mostly lower. BHP Group is declining 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is rising 0.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7068, compared to $0.7033 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is advancing, recovering some of the sharp losses in the previous session, following the gains on Wall Street amid rising optimism about an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 283.76 points or 1.35 percent to 21,330.00, after rising to a high of 21,349.54 earlier. Japanese stocks saw their worst single-day loss in nearly four months on Thursday.

Tech stocks are among the notable gainers. Advantest is gaining almost 6 percent and Tokyo Electron is higher by almost 5 percent.

The major exporters are also higher despite a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric and Panasonic are rising more than 2 percent each, while Canon and Sony are advancing more than 1 percent each.

In the auto space, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor are rising more than 1 percent each. In the oil sector, Inpex is up more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.2 percent after crude oil prices fell sharply overnight.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is gaining more than 2 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent.

Among the major gainers, Screen Holdings is gaining almost 9 percent, Chiyoda is rising more than 6 percent and Sumco Corp. is higher by almost 5 percent.

In economic news, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that overall nationwide consumer prices were up 0.7 percent on year in June, unchanged and in line with expectations.

Core consumer prices, which excludes food prices, rose an annual 0.6 percent - again matching forecasts and down from 0.8 percent in the previous month.

Japan will also see May numbers for its all industry activity index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 107 yen range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong are advancing more than 1 percent each, while South Korea is adding almost 1 percent. Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are also higher.

On Wall Street, stocks showed wild swings back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually ending in positive territory on Thursday as comments from New York Federal Reserve President John Williams seemed to endorse a near-term interest rate cut by the Fed. Buying interest was somewhat subdued, however, as traders also digested news that the U.S. Navy has shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Dow inched up 3.12 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 27,222.97, while the Nasdaq rose 22.04 points or 0.3 percent to 8,207.24 and the S&P 500 climbed 10.69 points or 0.4 percent to 2,995.11.

The major European markets moved to the downside on Thursday. The German DAX Index slumped by 0.9 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.6 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures declined sharply on Thursday despite opening on a positive note, as resumption of service in the Gulf of Mexico region raised concerns about excess supply in the market. WTI crude for August fell $1.48 or about 2.6 percent to close at $55.30 a barrel.

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