HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Japanese stocks rose narrowly Friday to clinch a sixth straight week of gains as technology firms advanced on the back of an extended rally on Wall Street, while Chinese shares rebounded on bargain buying after two days of losses.
Most other regional markets declined as investors locked in profits before the weekend, with energy shares losing ground in Sydney and Hong Kong after crude-oil prices dropped in New York Thursday.
China’s Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 +1.25% was the day’s best performer among major markets, rising 1.3% to 2,404.74 after dropping in the last two sessions. But the index still ended the week with a 1.4% decline.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.41% ended marginally lower at 4,276.20, South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.13% lost 0.5% at 2,034.44, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.03% shed 0.2% at 21,317.85 and Taiwan’s Taiex gave up 0.8% to 8,054.94.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.53% rose 0.1% to 10,129.83 after seesawing between gains and losses.
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“Our global equity strategists believe we are getting into profit-taking territory... Equities are cheap because bond yields are too low, distorted by unconventional monetary policy. This implies markets may not be willing to extend the rally in equities beyond this pint and erode the equity risk premia,” Barclays strategist Jose Wynne wrote in a report.
Other than the Shanghai Composite, all the other indexes ended up during the week. Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2%, the S&P ASX 200 gained 1.5%, the Kospi rose 0.8%, the Hang Seng Index added 1.1% and Taiex climbed 0.5%.
“Investors seem nervous about piling into risk assets as defensive sectors seem to have attracted most of the week’s buyers. High yielding stocks with consistent earnings certainly seem to be in favor at the moment. With increasing concerns about China’s growth, we might see this trend continue for a while,” said Stan Shamu at IG Markets.
Exporters fueled gains this week in Japan but traded indecisively Friday, as the yen recovered some recent losses against the U.S. dollar.
Technology shares outperformed the broader market, with Advantest Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206869087/delayed JP:6857 +0.57% /zigman2/quotes/202479540/delayed ADTTF -7.38% rising 3.1% and Tokyo Electron Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202883609/delayed JP:8035 -0.85% /zigman2/quotes/206919677/delayed TOELY -3.80% gaining 1.9%. But auto makers declined, with Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +1.61% /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -0.55% slipping 0.6% and Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +1.17% /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -0.39% losing 0.1%.
Hitachi Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203839937/delayed JP:6501 +0.56% advanced 2.5% after the company said Thursday it was hiking its fiscal-year profit outlook on strong proceeds from the sale of its hard-disk-drive unit.
In Hong Kong, China Mobile Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200868736/delayed HK:941 -0.49% fell 1.1% after Macquarie downgraded the stock to neutral.
China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202573805/delayed CAOVY -5.52% /zigman2/quotes/205731176/delayed HK:688 +1.40% tumbled 4.7% after its Chairman said Chinese property market conditions will be “more severe” in the first half of this year.
Merchandise supplier and logistics firm Li & Fung Ltd. gained 2.7% amid an improving U.S. economic outlook.
Bank of Communications Co. /zigman2/quotes/203442771/delayed HK:3328 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/208048873/delayed BKFCF +2.25% /zigman2/quotes/207155262/delayed CN:601328 -0.22% climbed 2.1% in Hong Kong as investors looked past concerns of equity-dilution from the lender’s 56.6 billion yuan ($8.95 billion) share placement, on hopes the move will boost its capital position. In Shanghai, the stock fell 0.6%. Read report on analyst view on BoCom.
Energy shares in Hong Kong and Sydney were weighed by a drop in crude-oil futures overnight.
PetroChina Co. /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/206980083/delayed CN:601857 -0.20% lost 1% and Cnooc Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -0.73% dropped 1.1% in Hong Kong.