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Asian Markets Mostly Lower

asiancommentary jan02 28nov19 lt

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Friday in the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street, which was closed overnight for a public holiday. Investors remained cautious amid worries that tensions between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong could delay a potential "phase one" trade deal.

The Australian market is rising, touching new record highs for a second straight day despite the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street. Nevertheless, investors remained cautious amid worries that tensions between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong could delay a trade deal.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 23.80 points or 0.35 percent to 6,887.80, after rising to a new record high of 6,893.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 24.00 points or 0.34 percent to 6,989.60. Australian stocks pared gains to close modestly higher on Thursday.

The major miners are mostly higher. Rio Tinto is rising 0.3 percent and BHP is higher by 0.2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher. Santos is adding 0.4 percent and Oil Search is rising 0.2 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is down 0.2 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are lower by more than 1 percent each.

The big four banks are mostly lower. Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are declining in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while ANZ Banking is adding 0.4 percent.

Select Harvests' shares are gaining more than 9 percent after the horticultural firm reported a full-year profit and its almond harvest for the full year exceeded its own upgraded forecast in August.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is edging higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6769, compared to $0.6767 on Thursday.

The Japanese market pared early gains and is modestly higher in the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street. Investors remained cautious amid worries about a delay to a trade deal between the U.S. and China due to tensions over Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, data showing that Japan's industrial output fell 4.2 percent in October from the previous month dampened investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 39.12 points or 0.17 percent to 23,448.26, after touching a high of 23,498.77 in early trades. Japanese shares closed lower on Thursday to snap a four-day winning streak.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is rising 0.6 percent and Fast Retailing is edging down 0.1 percent.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is rising more than 3 percent, Sony is adding more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is higher by almost 1 percent and Canon is adding 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is higher by more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding 0.5 percent. Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is rising 0.5 percent while Toyota Motor is down 0.3 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is advancing more than 1 percent, while Japan Petroleum is losing 0.4 percent.

Among the major gainers, Yokogawa Electric and Sumitomo Electric Industries are rising more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 109 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is declining almost 2 percent and South Korea is losing more than 1 percent. Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia are also lower. New Zealand and Indonesia are higher.

The U.S. markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The major European markets finished lower on Thursday. Germany's Dax shed 0.3 percent, while London's FTSE fell 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 dipped 0.2 percent.

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