HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets mostly rose on bargain-buying Friday, at the end of a disappointing week that saw Japan plunge into recession and a trumpeted Hong Kong Shanghai exchange link-up fall flat.
The yen made some inroads against the dollar and euro after hitting multi-year lows, but with eyes on the general election expected next month in Japan, analysts expect it to resume its downtrend.
Tokyo reversed early losses to end 0.33 per cent higher, adding 56.65 points to 17,357.51, while Seoul rose 0.35 per cent, or 6.80 points, to 1,964.84.
Hong Kong added 0.53 per cent in the afternoon and Shanghai rallied 1.32 per cent.
But Sydney fell 0.22 per cent, or 11.9 points, to close at 5,304.3.
US shares provided another record-breaking lead Thursday on the back of more positive economic indicators.
A regional manufacturing index from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia surged unexpectedly, while the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, an amalgamation of several key economic indicators, also improved.
Also, US existing-home sales gained in October for the second straight month.
The figures are the latest showing the US is well on a strong recovery track, despite weaknesses in the Chinese, Japanese and eurozone economies.
The Dow climbed 0.19 per cent and the S&P 500 gained 0.20 per cent – both hitting new peaks – while the Nasdaq added 0.56 per cent.
Regional investors started the week on the back foot with the release of data showing Japan had slipped back into recession after a sales tax hike in April put the clamps on consumer spending.
The news led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to put off another hike planned for next year and call a snap election for December.
The news also fuelled speculation the Bank of Japan will unveil fresh monetary easing measures – just weeks after it ramped up its already vast bond-buying scheme on October 31 – sending the yen diving.
However, in Tokyo trade Friday the Japanese unit picked up after hitting a more than seven-year low against the dollar and six-year low against the euro. The greenback bought 117.80 yen against 118.22 yen in New York Thursday, while the euro bought 147.79 yen compared with 148.25 yen.
The Japanese unit got some support after finance minister Taro Aso told a regular news briefing that the pace of the decline in the past week has been “too fast”.