July 14, 2016 - 7:40 PM EDT
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Asian Markets In Positive Territory

CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Friday, following the fresh record highs overnight on Wall Street and on better-than-expected Chinese economic data. These helped offset the negative sentiment following news that at least 80 people were killed in a deadly attack in the French Riviera city of Nice.

The National Bureau of Statistics said that China's gross domestic product expanded 6.7 percent on year in the second quarter of 2016. That was unchanged from the previous month, but it topped expectations for 6.6 percent.

Data also showed that China's industrial production as well as retail sales for June increased year-over-year and beat expectations.

The Australian market is higher for a seventh straight session, following another positive lead overnight from Wall Street. Banks and oil stocks are among the leading gainers.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 15.40 points or 0.28 percent to 5,427.00, off an eleven-month high of 5,436.20. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 14.80 points or 0.27 percent to 5,506.60.

The big four banks - ANZ Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank - are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 1.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Santos and Oil Search are adding 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is up 0.2 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among miners, BHP Billiton is adding 0.2 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing almost 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is declining 0.7 percent.

Whitehaven Coal reported coal production of 19.7 million tonnes for the year ended June 30, in line with its production outlook. Shares of the company are gaining more than 7 percent.

Gold miners are lower after gold prices fell for the fifth time in six sessions overnight. Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down more than 2 percent.

Online sports retail group Surfstitch Group said its chairman Howard McDonald will retire on August 1 and will be replaced by non-executive director Sam Weiss. Shares of the company are gaining almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar held onto gains against the U.S. dollar on Friday, driven by Thursday's June jobs report. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7632, almost unchanged from US$0.7630 on Thursday.

The Japanese market rose for a fifth straight day, tracking the record close overnight on Wall Street and on continued optimism about stimulus by the Japanese government.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 103.90 points or 0.63 percent to 16,489.79, off a high of 16548.62 earlier.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is surging almost 17 percent after reporting a better-than-expected profit for the third quarter, while SoftBank Group is adding 0.2 percent.

Nintendo's shares are advancing almost 3 percent following the popularity of its newly-launched 'Pokemon Go' mobile game. Messaging app Line has made its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today.

Automaker Toyota is advancing more than 1 percent and Honda is higher by 2 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining more than 3 percent.

However, the major exporters are mixed. Panasonic is advancing more than 2 percent and Sony is adding 0.3 percent. Toshiba is down 1 percent and Canon is declining more than 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is higher by 0.7 percent, while JX Holdings is declining almost 1 percent despite the increase in crude oil prices overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Nippon Sheet Glass is rising more than 7 percent, Toho Co. is gaining almost 7 percent and Nomura Holdings is up almost 6 percent. Meanwhile, Konami Corp. is losing almost 6 percent and Takara Holdings is lower by almost 4 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 105 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are all higher. Shanghai is also edging up.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday as traders expressed continued optimism about additional monetary stimulus from central banks. Earlier in the day, the Bank of England unexpectedly refrained from cutting interest rates but signaled more action next month after policymakers get more assessments on economic growth.

The Dow advanced 134.29 points or 0.7 percent to 18,506.41, the Nasdaq climbed 28.33 points or 0.6 percent to 5,034.06 and the S&P 500 rose 11.32 points or 0.5 percent to 2,163.75.

Most European stocks moved higher on Thursday, although the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.2 percent. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index surged up by 1.2 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures continued to see-saw Thursday, rebounding after yesterday's drubbing. August WTI oil settled at $45.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 93 cents, or 2.1 percent.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Source: Equities.com News (July 14, 2016 - 7:40 PM EDT)

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