By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Most Asian stock markets gained Friday while Japan edged down following Wall Street’s rally, all part of a turbulent holiday week.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.07% lost 0.3% following two days of gains, as the Bank of Japan released notes from its last meeting. It warned of growing risks and weaker inflation. Other government data found that unemployment rose in November to 2.5% from 2.4% in October, and industrial production fell 1.1% from the previous month, adding to worries of a slowing economy. Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +1.54% fell 0.4%, giving up early gains, and oil company Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -0.75% fell initially but ended firmer. TDK /zigman2/quotes/208948266/delayed JP:6762 -1.19% rose slightly, off early sharp gains.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.54% gave up early gains and was last up about 0.1%. Property stocks continued to outperform, with Hang Lung Properties /zigman2/quotes/200230831/delayed HK:101 +1.44% and China Overseas Land & Development /zigman2/quotes/205731176/delayed HK:688 +2.01% up more than 1% each. Tech manufacturer Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 +0.26% rose, as did oil producer CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 +1.39% . China Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/202085942/delayed HK:386 +1.65% slid 5% while AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -2.02% dipped 1.5%.
In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.76% rose slightly while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.65% was about flat. Citing Thursday’s report of weakened industrial profits and a report that the Trump administration may ban the use of Huawei and ZTE /zigman2/quotes/209674390/delayed CN:000063 +2.05% equipment in the U.S., Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trading at Oanda, raised concerns in a research note. “We all are expecting that growth of the world’s second-largest economy will slow further in the fourth quarter from the decade-low GDP rate of 6.5% in the third quarter,” he wrote. “But potentially more damning is China manufacturers could reduce near-term capital expenditures further cooling the economy. Given the tail risk for China’s economy remains substantial, mainland economic growth could be the most significant risk in 2019.”
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.62% added 0.6% as Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +1.10% rose 1%. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.34% gained 0.4% and benchmarks in New Zealand /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR +0.10% , Taiwan and Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.50% also advanced.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks staged a last-minute turnaround that put the market on track to end the volatile week with a gain. That followed the market’s best day in 10 years. Health care and technology companies, banks and industrial stocks accounted for much of the gains. The Standard & Poor’s 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.25% rose 0.9% to 2,488.83 after being down 2.8% at midday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.08% gained 1.1% to 23,138.82. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.95% added 0.4% to 6,579.49. The downturn that began in October has intensified this month, erasing all of the market’s 2018 gains and nudging the S&P 500 closer to its worst year since 2008. Stocks are on track for their worst December since 1931.
Improved U.S. sentiment “provided Asia markets with the intraday relief into the end of the week,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. Still, Pan said, “one would likely flinch to call this a bottom yet,” leaving a “mixed picture as we head into the end of the year.”
Profits at major Chinese industrial companies fell in November for the first time in three years amid an economic slowdown and trade tension with Washington. Government data showed profit for companies in steel, construction materials, oil, chemicals and equipment manufacturing declined 1.8 percent from a year earlier, a reverse from October’s 3.6 percent gain.
Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $1.02 to $45.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.59 on Thursday to close at $44.61. Brent crude , used to price international oils, gained $1 to $53.73 per barrel in London. It fell $1.97 the previous session to $52.73.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0246% declined to 110.58 yen from Thursday’s 111.01 yen.