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Asian Shares Advance Ahead Of U.S. Jobs Data

asian up 06dec19 lt

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Friday amid optimism the U.S. and China will be able to arrive at a phase one trade agreement prior to December 15th, when a new round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports will take effect.

The focus shifted to U.S. jobs data that will be out later in the day after recent data sent mixed signals about the state of the world's largest economy.

Chinese shares rose and logged their biggest weekly gain in nearly two months, with signs of economic recovery and hopes of a trade deal with the United States helping underpin investor sentiment.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent to 2,912.01 and ended the week up by 1.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.1 percent to 26,498.37.

Japanese shares rose despite the yen benefiting from reviving safe-haven demand on the back of uncertainty over a potential phase one U.S.-China trade deal.

The Nikkei 225 Index gained 0.2 percent to finish at 23,354.40, while the broader Topix index closed 0.1 percent higher at 1,713.36. TDK, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Kobe Steel, Advantest and Eisai surged 3-6 percent.

Japan household spending declined notably in October after the government implemented a sales tax hike on October 1, a government report showed.

Household spending decreased 5.1 percent annually in October, in contrast to a 9.5 percent increase in September. This was the biggest fall since March 2016. Economists had forecast a moderate 3.5 percent fall for October.

Seoul stocks rose to snap a three-day losing streak as foreign investors resumed buying on renewed hopes for a trade deal between the United States and China within this year. The benchmark Kospi jumped 1 percent to 2,081.85.

Australian markets advanced to end a volatile week on a positive note. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent to 6,707.00, while the broader All Ordinaries Index gained 0.3 percent to end at 6,813.50.

Banks ended on a mixed note, while mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto closed largely unchanged. Boral slumped 6.3 percent after the construction materials supplier revealed financial irregularities in its North American windows division.

Gold miner Northern Star Resources gained half a percent after it completed its takeover of Echo Resources.

Health insurer NIB Holdings climbed 2.1 percent after it formed a A$20 million joint venture with U.S.-based insurance giant Cigna to create a data science and services company.

In economic news, Australia's construction sector contracted further in November, official data showed today. The Performance of Construction Index fell 3.9 points to 40.0. This was the 15th consecutive month of contraction.

New Zealand shares rose slightly, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending up 0.2 percent at 11,276.20. Energy retailer Mercury NZ jumped 2.8 percent, Meridian Energy gained 0.8 percent and Contact Energy added 0.6 percent.

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