By Laura He, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Japan stocks ended mildly higher on Friday, gaining for a fifth straight session, as the yen’s continued weakness helped support the markets’ advance.
The Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.44% rose 0.3%, capping the week with a solid 1.8% gain. The broader Topix Index /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 +0.29% edged up 0.2%.
Meanwhile, the yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1634% dropped further against the dollar to ¥107.22 compared with ¥107.05 in the previous session. Earlier on Friday, the yen hit ¥107.39 per dollar, its highest level in six years.
Internet and telecom giant SoftBank Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +0.88% , which is a major shareholder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, advanced 2.3% following a 2.9% rally in the previous day. Alibaba Group started a roadshow this week in New York ahead of its widely anticipated U.S. initial public offering.
Media conglomerate Sony Corporation /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.43% added 1.1% to its recent gains, as it had reached a deal with Viacom Inc. for content partnerships.
Among other leading gainers, camera maker Nikon Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 -0.30% improved by 1.8%, auto maker Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +0.78% tacked on 1.4%, electronics giant Hitachi Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203839937/delayed JP:6501 +0.08% zoomed 0.7% higher, and semiconductor firm Renesas Electronics Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203872935/delayed JP:6723 +1.52% snagged a 0.3% gain.
In other Asian markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.05% dropped 0.3%, logging a six-session losing string, and posting a weekly loss of 2.6%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.91% lost 0.3%, with the Australian dollar /zigman2/quotes/210560947/realtime/sampled AUDUSD -0.2167% falling to 90.48 U.S. cents from 91.03 U.S. cents a day earlier.
However, mainland China’s Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.17% was up 0.9%, and South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.13% settled 0.4% higher.