Asian Markets Rise As Risk Appetite Improves

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By 2017-11-18

Asian stock markets are higher on Friday on improved risk appetite following the rebound on Wall Street overnight on upbeat corporate earnings results and as House Republicans voted to approve the Tax Reform Bill. Crude oil prices firmed after declining overnight. The Australian market is advancing following the rebound on Wall Street. Banks and oil stocks are among the major gainers.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 21.80 points or 0.37 per cent to 5,965.30, off a high of 5,978.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 22.30 points or 0.37 per cent to 6,045.80.

The big four banks are advancing. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 0.3 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher despite crude oil prices extending losses overnight. Oil Search is rising almost 1 per cent and Santos is adding more than 1 per cent, while and Woodside Petroleum is edging down less than 0.1 per cent.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton is declining 0.5 per cent and Rio Tinto is down 0.4 per cent, while Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 per cent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is adding 0.6 per cent, while Evolution Mining is losing almost 2 per cent.

Kogan.com reported a 36 per cent surge in revenue for the four months ended October. The online consumer electronics and general merchandise retailer's shares are gaining almost 8 per cent.

The Australian Competition Tribunal has once again cleared the A$11 billion merger between gaming giants Tabcorp Holdings and Tatts Group on the condition that Tabcorp will divest its Odyssey Gaming business in Queensland. Shares of both companies are in a trading halt.

On the economic front, Australia will release October numbers for new motor vehicle sales today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the US dollar on Friday. In early trades, the local unit was quoted at US$0.7588, up from US$0.7596 on Thursday.

The Japanese market is notably higher, extending gains from the previous session as the overnight rebound on Wall Street lifted investor sentiment. Exporters' shares are also mostly advancing despite a stronger yen.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 317.76 points or 1.42 per cent to 22,668.88, off a high of 22757.40 earlier.

Among the major exporters, Sony is rising more than 2 per cent, Panasonic is advancing almost 2 per cent, Mitsubishi Electric is rising more than 1 per cent and Canon is adding almost 1 per cent.

SoftBank is rising 0.5 per cent and Fast Retailing is adding more than 3 per cent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding more than 1 per cent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is up 0.4 per cent. Among automakers, Toyota is rising 0.2 per cent and Honda is advancing almost 2 per cent.

In the oil space, Inpex is rising almost 1 per cent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is adding 0.4 per cent despite crude oil prices extending losses overnight.

Among the market's best performers, Tokyo Dome Corp. is rising almost 9 per cent, Nisshin Steel is higher by almost 5 per cent and DeNA Co. is up almost 4 per cent.

On the flip side, Tokuyama Corp. and Dentsu are losing more than 1 per cent each.

In the currency market, the US dollar is trading in the upper 112 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed significantly higher on Thursday, partly reflecting a positive reaction to better than expected quarterly results from Wal-Mart and Cisco Systems. Stocks remained firmly positive after the House voted to approve the Republican Tax Reform Bill, although final passage of legislation remains less than a certainty.

The Dow climbed 187.08 points or 0.8 per cent to 23,458.36, the Nasdaq jumped 87.08 points or 1.3 per cent to 6,793.29 and the S&P 500 advanced 21.02 points or 0.8 per cent to 2,585.64.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the UK's FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 per cent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.6 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively.

Crude oil futures continued to fall Thursday amid a flurry of US economic data. December WTI oil declined $0.19 or 0.3 per cent to settle at $55.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In Asian trades Friday, crude oil added $0.16 or 0.29 per cent to $55.30.

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