By Laura He, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian stocks were mostly higher on Friday, following a positive U.S. lead, while Thai markets fell after the country’s military took control in a coup.
Japanese stocks led the gains, with the Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.39% ending up 0.9% and the Topix index /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 -0.03% closing 1% higher. The yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0206% remained flat, trading at ¥101.812 from ¥101.793 in the previous session.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.33% edged up 0.2% at the close. The Australian dollar /zigman2/quotes/210560947/realtime/sampled AUDUSD +0.0151% slightly rose to 92.32 U.S. cents, from 92.24 U.S. cents on Thursday.
Hong Kong stocks closed positive after a choppy session, with the Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.09% up 0.1% for its fourth straight day of gains. The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.31% also advanced 0.7%. Chinese property stocks rallied in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, after state media said the government might loosen restrictions on home purchases in all but the largest Chinese cities.
However, Thailand’s stock markets had a volatile day after the country’s army seized control of the government in a coup it said was aimed at restoring stability after six months of political turmoil. The benchmark SET index /zigman2/quotes/210598047/delayed TH:SET +0.26% trimmed earlier losses in the afternoon session, still 1% lower at this point.
The Thai baht /zigman2/quotes/210561889/realtime/sampled USDTHB -0.0633% initially dropped against the dollar, touching an intraday low of 32.46 baht, less than Thursday’s level of 32.56 baht. The currency then recovered to 32.59 baht.
Among market movers, Japanese semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics /zigman2/quotes/203872935/delayed JP:6723 -0.90% jumped 4.4%, banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group /zigman2/quotes/207520099/delayed JP:8306 +0.62% rose 2.3%, optical equipment manufacturer Olympus Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200860615/delayed JP:7733 -1.61% gained 1.9%, and electronics maker Fujitsu /zigman2/quotes/208459594/delayed JP:6702 -1.15% added 1.4%.
In Hong Kong, property developers were among the biggest winners, with Sunac China Holdings /zigman2/quotes/206127839/delayed HK:1918 -3.03% rising 8.2%, Greentown China Holdings /zigman2/quotes/210429626/delayed HK:3900 -1.00% up 6.6%, China Overseas Land & Investment /zigman2/quotes/205731176/delayed HK:688 -2.34% gaining 5.5%, and Country Garden Holdings /zigman2/quotes/201681083/delayed HK:2007 -1.31% up 4.9%.
In Shanghai, top gainers in the property sector included Wolong Real Estate Group /zigman2/quotes/202636045/delayed CN:600173 +2.36% , adding 10.1%, and Poly Real Estate Group /zigman2/quotes/201864015/delayed CN:600048 -1.98% , up 4.3%.