HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian shares ended mostly higher Friday, with gold miners leading advancers as the precious metal hit a record high.
Gold miners rallied as the yellow metal’s price surpassed the high of $1,277.85 per troy ounce, set in New York Thursday. Spot gold rose $6 to $1,281.50 in Asian trading.
“Gold’s rally has coincided with two significant developments in the currency markets: the Bank of Japan’s intervention and the U.S. Treasury secretary’s call for other countries to support the U.S. on China [currency policy],” HSBC analysts wrote in a note.
“The situation is almost tailor-made for a further gold rally and helps explain how gold can consistently trade higher, despite little, if any, inflationary pressure in most of the world,” HSBC added. Read full story on gold prices.
The spike lifted shares of Zhaojin Mining Industry Co. /zigman2/quotes/200275285/composite ZHAOF +9.40% /zigman2/quotes/203361399/delayed HK:1818 -3.33% 2.8% in Hong Kong. Zhongjin Gold Co. /zigman2/quotes/207741711/delayed CN:600489 +1.89% rose 3.1% in Shanghai, and Newcrest Mining /zigman2/quotes/203286036/composite NCMGY -1.17% /zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed AU:NCM +0.18% added 3.3% in Sydney.
Among the major indexes, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.18% rose 1.2%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.47% added 1.3%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.32% and Taiwan’s Taiex each gained 0.7%, while South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.9% and India’s Sensex climbed 0.9% in afternoon trading. China’s Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +2.07% declined 0.2%.
In the U.S., Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.88% futures rose 54 points in screen trade.
In Tokyo, exporter shares boosted the market as the U.S. dollar remained above the 85-yen level after Japan’s market intervention earlier this week. Most companies were in positive territory, but trading volumes were modest ahead of Japanese holidays on Monday and Thursday.
“The intervention [by the Japanese government on Wednesday] has been more effective in stemming the yen’s rise than markets had initially expected,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, equity strategist at Cosmo Securities. “But it’s hard to buy [stocks] aggressively since there is a lingering shade of anxiety that the yen may strengthen if the U.S. carries out additional [monetary] easing,” he said.
Shares of Sony Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE +1.74% /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +2.35% rose 1.4%, Nikon Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209396469/composite NINOY -0.57% /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 -0.95% added 4%, and Honda Motor /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -0.84% /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +0.89% gained 1.9%. GS Yuasa /zigman2/quotes/209233174/delayed JP:6674 +2.03% advanced 3.3%, and Mitsubishi Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208582984/delayed JP:8058 +0.41% rose 1.6% on a report they will set up a joint venture in Europe with Magna International to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
In Hong Kong and Shanghai, banks mostly underperformed as worries persisted about a possible interest-rate hike from the People’s Bank of China. The concerns surfaced after China’s consumer price index rose 3.5% in August from a year earlier, the biggest rise since October 2008
“The case for a hike in lending rates is building, but it is too early for the PBOC to move,” said Ben Simpfendorfer, economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In Shanghai, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202401350/composite IDCBY -0.41% /zigman2/quotes/202525815/delayed CN:601398 +0.81% fell 0.3%, while Agricultural Bank of China /zigman2/quotes/204629388/delayed CN:601288 +0.95% dropped 1.1%.
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Energy producers moved higher in Hong Kong after Citigroup analysts wrote in a report Thursday that mainland regulators may allow them to increase tariffs in some provinces, likely in October. Datang International Power Generation /zigman2/quotes/208936315/composite DIPGY +9.06% /zigman2/quotes/209691840/delayed HK:991 -0.99% climbed 2.7%, and Huadian Power International Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203672510/composite HPIFF -9.71% /zigman2/quotes/206029871/delayed HK:1071 -0.48% jumped 6%. In Shanghai, the stocks climbed 0.3% and 3.4%, respectively. Read full story on Chinese power producers.
In Seoul, LG Electronics surged 4.7% on news its Chief Executive Nam Yong has offered to resign, as investors hoped the change in leadership could improve the firm’s fortunes.
In Sydney, successful bond issues by Santos and Asciano further eased funding concerns for banks, said George Kanaan, UBS head of sales. National Australia Bank /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB -0.06% /zigman2/quotes/208329321/composite NABZY -0.78% gained 0.7%. Santos /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO -0.38% jumped 3.6% after raising 650 million euros ($851.5 million) from a hybrid debt issue.
Leighton Holdings rose 1.3% on news of a proposed takeover of its German parent Hochtief AG by Spain’s Actividades de Construccion y Servicios S.A.
In Taiwan, banks that won approval from China’s banking regulator to open branches in the mainland were sharply higher. Chang Hwa Commercial Bank added 3.1%, Taiwan Cooperative Bank gained 1.9%, and First Financial rose 1.8%.
Elsewhere, Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.4%, Indonesian shares climbed 0.9%, and Thailand’s The SET Index slipped 0.1% in late trading. Earlier in the day, Philippine shares finished 0.7% lower, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 rose 0.5%.
In Thailand, Thai telecom shares slumped after the Central Administration Court issued an injunction late Thursday against the upcoming auction of 3G licenses, slated to begin Monday. Advanced Info Service /zigman2/quotes/202787136/composite AVIFY +4.61% tumbled 8.2%, Total Access Communication /zigman2/quotes/206551914/composite TACYY +1.26% slumped 13.2%, and True Corp. plunged 23.5%.
In foreign-exchange trading, the U.S. dollar dropped against most Asian currencies, although it rose against the Japanese yen. The greenback was at ¥85.86 compared with ¥85.81 late in New York, while the euro was at $1.3143 from $1.3085 and at ¥112.82, compared with ¥112.29. Against other Asian currencies, the dollar weakened to 1,159.90 Korean won from 1,162.55 won, and to 45.85 Indian rupees from 46.15 rupees.
October crude-oil futures rose 47 cents to $75.04 a barrel.