By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were mixed in early trading Friday after Japan’s GDP grew, but so did China’s inflation.
New data showed Japan’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the June-ended second quarter. The economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.8%, beating analysts’ estimates of 0.4% growth, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
China’s central bank set the yuan’s daily midpoint above 7 per U.S. dollar for the second straight day. Still, the reference point of 7.0136 yuan per dollar was stronger than analysts’ estimates, and reassured investors that China is not seeking an all-out currency war.
Meanwhile, China’s consumer inflation hit a 17-month high, with the consumer-price index up 2.8% year-over-year in July. The Wall Street Journal had estimated a 2.7% rise. Food prices, though, shot up 9.1% year-over-year amid an outbreak of swine fever. Indexes in Hong Kong and mainland China reversed early gains after the data was released.
Trade tensions showed no signs of letting up as Bloomberg News reported the Trump administration was holding off on approving licenses for U.S. tech companies to resume doing business with China’s blacklisted Huawei Technologies Co. in retaliation for China’s suspension of U.S. agricultural purchases.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +2.13% rose 0.7% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.05% gave up early gains and was last down 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.54% fell 0.2% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.13% was last down 0.6%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.81% jumped 1.1%, and benchmark indexes in Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +0.02% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +1.37% gained. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +2.50% edged up 0.2%. Markets in Taiwan and Singapore were closed for holidays.
Among individual stocks, Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.82% rose in Tokyo trading, along with /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -0.23% Inpex and SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +2.70% . In Hong Kong, China Mobile /zigman2/quotes/200868736/delayed HK:941 +1.01% gained, as did Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -0.38% and New World Development /zigman2/quotes/202357413/delayed HK:17 -2.85% . Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +2.00% and LG Electronics /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 -0.50% advanced in South Korea, and Commonwealth Bank /zigman2/quotes/200638713/delayed AU:CBA +4.11% gained in Australia after the country’s central bank said it may cut interest rates further if necessary.
Technology companies powered stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, driving the S&P 500 to its best day in more than two months and erasing its losses for the week.
The rally, which pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average up by more than 370 points, followed an early rise in bonds yields after a weekly government report on unemployment claims came in better than economists had expected.
The absence of new worrisome turns in the U.S.-China trade tussle may have also helped keep investors in a buying mood.
The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.48% rose 54.11 points, or 1.9%, to 2,938.09. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +2.21% climbed 371.12 points, or 1.4%, to 26,378.19. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.77% , which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, vaulted 176.33 points, or 2.2%, to 8,039.16. It also had its best day in more than two months and was on track to end the week with a gain.
Benchmark crude rose 9 cents to $52.63 a barrel. It rose $1.45 to $52.54 a barrel Thursday. Brent crude oil , the international standard, added 7 cents $57.45 a barrel.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1188% rose to 106.01 Japanese yen from 105.97 Thursday.