Asia report: Markets end disappointing week on a high

07 December 2018

(Sharecast News) - Markets in Asia broke several days of disappointment on Friday, as sentiment was boosted by reports that the US Federal Reserve was considering a more gradual incline when it comes to raising interest rates.
In Japan, the <strong>Nikkei 225</strong> was up 0.82% at 21,678.68, as the yen weakened 0.12% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 112.82.

The broader <strong>Topix</strong> index was 0.61% higher in Tokyo, at 1,620.45.

Technology behemoth <strong>SoftBank</strong> extended Thursday's losses to finish down 2.09%, after it confirmed its earnings and dividend expectations were unchanged after a large-scale mobile network outage in Japan.

On the mainland, the <strong>Shanghai Composite</strong> eked out gains of 0.03% to close at 2,605.89, and the smaller, technology-heavy <strong>Shenzhen Composite</strong> finished flat at 1,350.70.

South Korea's <strong>Kospi</strong> was up 0.34% at 2,075.76, while the <strong>Hang Seng Index</strong> in Hong Kong was the odd one out, slipping 0.35% to 26,063.76.

Technology plays were among the winners in Seoul, with chip manufacturer <strong>SK Hynix</strong> up 1.21%.

A report out from the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> overnight suggested the Fed could be looking to slow down the speed at which it wanted to raise its interest rate targets.

According to the report, the central bank was set to discuss a 'wait-and-see' approach to rate hikes at its meeting later in December.

Oil prices were higher as the region headed off for Friday night drinks, with Brent crude up 4.62% at $62.97 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate adding 3.88% to $53.57.

In Australia, the <strong>S&amp;P/ASX 200</strong> gained 0.42% to 5,681.50, led higher by the hefty financials subindex, which was boosted by positive trade from the big four banks.

<strong>Australia and New Zealand Banking Group</strong> was up 0.16%, <strong>Commonwealth Bank of Australia</strong> added 1%, <strong>National Australia Bank</strong> advance 0.25%, and <strong>Westpac Banking Corporation</strong> was 0.23% higher.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's <strong>S&amp;P/NZX 50</strong> was up 0.1% at 8,767.32, led higher by <strong>Z Energy</strong>, which rose 2.5%.

Both of the down under dollars were slightly weaker on the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.01% at AUD 1.3824, and the Kiwi retreating 0.03% to NZD 1.4542.