Asian markets advance as more records fall on Wall Street


Asian markets mostly gained in early trading Friday, after yet more record highs on Wall Street.

Japan’s Nikkei












NIK, -0.01%










  was about flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index












HSI, +1.21%










  gained 1.2%. The Shanghai Composite












SHCOMP, +0.85%










  advanced 0.7% while the Shenzhen Composite












399106, +0.55%










  edged up 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi












180721, +0.40%










  inched up 0.5%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan












Y9999, +0.72%










 , Singapore












STI, +0.12%










  and Indonesia












JAKIDX, +0.23%










  rose, while stocks were little changed in Malaysia












FBMKLCI, +0.05%










 . Australia’s S&P ASX 200












XJO, +0.34%










  rose 0.3%.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank












9984, +1.68%










  and Yahoo Japan parent Z Holdings












4689, +1.78%










 advanced in Tokyo trading, while Fast Retailing












9983, -1.22%










  and pharmaceutical company Otsuka Holdings












4578, -1.32%










  declined. In Hong Kong, property developer Country Garden












2007, +3.49%










  and casino operators Galaxy Entertainment












27, +3.12%










  and Sands China












1928, +2.60%










  gained. Samsung












005930, +2.65%










  surged in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor












2330, +1.35%










  rose in Taiwan. Beach Energy












BPT, -0.96%










  fell while BHP












BHP, +1.25%










  gained in Australia.

U.S. stocks returned from the Christmas holiday and powered higher again Thursday, helped by reports of record year-end retail sales. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index












COMP, +0.78%










 closed at 9,000 for the first time ever, closing above 9,022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average












DJIA, +0.37%










  and the S&P 500












SPX, +0.51%










  closed at record highs as well.

European markets will reopen Friday after a two-day Christmas holiday.

Investors welcomed President Donald Trump’s comment that an interim “Phase 1” trade deal was “getting done.” Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would hold a signing ceremony.

Markets have been encouraged by positive comments about the agreement, though details have yet to be released.

Chinese customs data this week showed soybean imports rose in November in a possible boost to American farmers. Midwestern farm states were battered by Beijing’s suspension of purchases of U.S. soybeans, the biggest Chinese import from the United States, in response to Trump’s tariff hikes in a fight over China’s technology ambitions and trade surplus.

“Broadly risk sentiment is positive,” Mizuho Bank said in a report.

.

Benchmark U.S. crude












CL00, +0.24%










  gained 13 cents to $61.81 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 57 cents on Thursday to close at $61.88. Brent crude












BRNG20, +0.16%










 , used to price international oils, advanced 6 cents to $66.82 per barrel in London. It rose 60 cents the previous session to $66.76.

The dollar












USDJPY, -0.16%










  weakened to 109.47 yen from Thursday’s 109.57 yen.

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