Asia Pacific share market finished higher on last trading session of the week, Friday, 25 November 2016, as the Thanksgiving break in the United States helped slow a relentless surge in the dollar that has sucked capital out of most emerging markets. Wall Street was closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and trading will end early on Friday.
Strong U. S. manufacturing and consumer data this week have bolstered the case for higher interest rates. The dollar index has risen 0.5% this week, and almost 4% since Nov. 8.
Crude oil prices were mostly steady as investors looked to next week's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for clarity on proposed output caps. U. S. crude futures were flat at $47.92, set to clock a weekly increase of 5%, building on last week's 5.3% jump. Global benchmark Brent crude slipped 0.1% to $48.93, on track for a weekly gain of 4.4%.
Gold lost 1% to touch its lowest level in 9-1/2 months in Asian trade on Friday, on track to post a third consecutive weekly decline, as the dollar extended its bull run against the yen on the back of rising bond yields. Spot gold was down 0.8% at $1,173.56 an ounce. Bullion shed over 8% so far this month and has lost over $160 an ounce since the peak after the U. S. election on Nov. 9, hurt by a strong dollar and surging Treasury yields as investors bet on higher growth and inflation under U. S. president-elect Trump.
Among Asian bourses
Australia Market hits 3-month high
Australian share market closed at highest level in three months, due to continued demand for mining and energy stocks, thanks to gains in commodity prices, including copper and iron ore. At the closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 22.70 points, or 0.41%, to 5507.80, its highest level since August 26, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 21.50 points, or 0.39%, to close at 5570.50.
Shares of energy companies also found support on renewed hopes of an OPEC production cut deal next week. Woodside Petroleum inclined by 1.1% to A$31.10, Origin Energy 0.8% to A$6.07, and Santos 0.2% to A$4.19.
Mining stocks closed stronger, led by BHP Billiton, up 2.3% to A$26.50, after ratings agency Moody's upgraded the mining giant's outlook to stable from negative. Moody's said it expects the company to report improved margins and cash flow throughout next year. Rio Tinto gained 2.4% to A$61.76.
Shares of financial players mostly lower on profit booking. Among major banks, Westpac shed 0.3% to A$31.53, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group 0.2% to A$28.28, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia 0.3% to A$78.17, while National Australia Bank rose 0.5% to A$29.01.
Tatts Group gained 7.1% to A$4.21 after Tabcorp took control of a 10% stake in the gaming firm for about A$638 million. The move comes just over a month after the companies announced an A$11.3 billion merger.
Nikkei hits 11-months high
The Japan share market finished at an 11-month high, as risk sentiments underpinned by yen depreciation against greenback. Total 22 out of 33 TSE industry category on the main section inclined, led by Transportation Equipment, Precision Instruments, Electric Power & Gas, Nonferrous Metals, and Warehousing & Harbor Transportation Services issues, while Banks, Real Estate, Marine Transportation, and Fishery, Agriculture & Forestry issues being major decliners. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.26%, or 47.81 points, to close at 18,381.22, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues gained 0.31%, or 4.57 points, to 1,464.53.
Shares of export-oriented firms extended rally as the yen depreciated to 113-level against greenback. A softer yen is positive to the stock market as it amplifies into exporters' profitability. Honda Motor Corp surged 2% to 3345 yen. Ajinomoto Co Inc rose 2.4% to 2213 yen.
China Stocks end stronger
Mainland China stock market closed stronger, due to gains in real estate and banking shares on signs that the economy is on steadier footing were more than offset by losses in resources shares on profit booking. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.93%, to 3,521.30, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.62% to 3,261.94 points. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, added 0.4% to 2,129.84. For the week, the CSI300 rose 3%, while the SSEC gained 2.2%, its best week since mid-November.
China's yuan continued depreciation against greenback of Friday, hitting a lowest point since June 2008 as the People's Bank of China continues to devalue the currency. The central parity rate of the Chinese yuan weakened for the third straight trading day by falling 83 basis points to 6.9168 against the US dollar.
Traders are allowed to trade up to 2% either side of the reference point for the day.
Hong Kong Stocks closed higher
The Hong Kong stock market advanced today, partly aided by steady money inflows from China as a cross-border link will be launched soon. The Thanksgiving break in the United States also helped slow a relentless surge in the U. S. dollar that has sucked capital out of most emerging markets. The market has witnessed relatively strong inflows from Chinese investors via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, as a sister investment link connecting Hong Kong and Shenzhen will be launched soon. Most sectors rose, with financial and consumer related stocks leading the gains. The Hang Seng Index ended up 0.51%, or 114.96 points, to 22,723.45 and the Hang Seng China Enterprises index added 1.15%, or 111.46 points, to 9,9790.23. Turnover increased to HK$56.2 billion from HK$55.8 billion on Thursday.
Chinese financial players attracted fund buying. China Life (02628) gained 3.9% to HK$22.7 after CICC and ICBA's bullish comments. Ping An (02318) added 2% to HK$42.25. Mainland lenders were also firmer. CCB (00939) put on 1% to HK$5.75. ICBC (01398) added 1.3% to HK$4.67.
Mengniu Dairy (02319) soared 4.6% to HK$16.32 becoming the top blue-chip gainer. It was reported that the company's call options turnover has risen significantly.
Sensex, Nifty hit two-week closing high
Trading for the week closed on a buoyant note as key benchmark indices surged today, 25 November 2016, led by gains in IT and pharma stocks. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, jumped 456.17 points or 1.76% to settle at 26,316.34. The Nifty surged 148.80 points or 1.87% to settle at 8,114.30. The Sensex and the Nifty, both, hit their highest closing level in two-weeks.
The Sensex closed above the psychological 26,000 mark after regaining that mark in early trade. The Nifty settled above the psychological 8,000 level after reclaiming that mark in early trade. Bargain hunting emerged after the recent heavy selling on the bourses triggered by worries that US president elect Donald Trump's likely fiscal expansionary policies could result in hike in interest rates there which could spark capital outflows from the emerging equity markets.
Wipro gained 2.96% after the company announced that it completed the acquisition of Appirio on 23 November 2016. As mentioned in the media presentation submitted as part of results for Q2 September 2016, impact of the Appirio acquisition is expected to reflect in the financials of Wipro for Q3 December 2016, the company said. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 24 November 2016.
Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region: New Zealand's NZX50 rose 0.2% to 6899.62. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index added 0.3% to 5122.10. Taiwan's Taiex rose 0.1% to 9159.07. South Korea's KOSPI index jumped 0.2% to 1974.46. Malaysia's KLCI was up 0.2% to 1627.26. Singapore's Straits Times index rose 0.6% to 2859.33.
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