By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets mostly gained in early trading Friday, after yet more record highs on Wall Street.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.95% was about flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.23% gained 1.2%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.28% advanced 0.7% while the Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.34% edged up 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.97% inched up 0.5%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.13% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.17% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.20% rose, while stocks were little changed in Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +0.04% . Australia’s S&P ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.75% rose 0.3%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +3.15% and Yahoo Japan parent Z Holdings /zigman2/quotes/207641152/delayed JP:4689 +0.89% advanced in Tokyo trading, while Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +0.68% and pharmaceutical company Otsuka Holdings /zigman2/quotes/201681622/delayed JP:4578 +0.36% declined. In Hong Kong, property developer Country Garden /zigman2/quotes/201681083/delayed HK:2007 -2.19% and casino operators Galaxy Entertainment /zigman2/quotes/202884203/delayed HK:27 +2.52% and Sands China /zigman2/quotes/207609245/delayed HK:1928 +3.20% gained. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +1.11% surged in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor /zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed TW:2330 -0.37% rose in Taiwan. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT +1.25% fell while BHP /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +1.97% 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 /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.73% closed at 9,000 for the first time ever, closing above 9,022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.43% and the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.57% 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 /zigman2/quotes/209723049/delayed CL00 -0.09% 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 , 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 /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1545% weakened to 109.47 yen from Thursday’s 109.57 yen.