Most Asia bourses close week on a positive note; Nikkei gains amid weaker yen

Asian stock markets were positive Friday, amid a lack of cues from U.S. markets, which were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“There’s a lot of repositioning,” in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise election win on November 8, Herald Van Der Linde, head of equity strategy for Asia Pacific, at HSBC, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday.

“We saw a lot of money coming in over the course of this year into emerging markets,” he noted, estimating that around 25 percent of that money had flowed back out since the U.S. election result. “There could be a little further to go,” he said, but added that he believed the region’s fundamentals were sound and there could be a buying opportunity.

Australia’s ASX 200 closed up 0.41 percent, or 22.721 points, at 5,507.8 after initially opening flat. But the benchmark’s gains were capped by the all ordinaries gold sub-index, which was down by 2.13 percent.

BHP Billiton climbed 2.28 percent to A$26.50 a share. The Australian miner announced early Friday it had approved $181 million to fund the compensation programs at its Samarco joint venture in Brazil.

Explorer Top End Minerals surged 121.43 percent to $0.062 a share, after it announced it acquired a 60 percent interest in Myanmar’s Cornerstone Resources.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 wavered toward the end of the session, but finished up 0.26 percent, or 47.81 points, at 18,381.22, while the Topix closed up 0.31 percent, or 4.57 points, at 1,464.53.

The dollar was fetching 113.4 yen as of 2:17 pm HK/SIN, a nearly eight-month high. A weaker yen usually supports exporters as it makes overseas earnings appear more attractive when they are repatriated and it can make export pricing more competitive overseas.

On Friday, government data showed that core consumer prices fell 0.4 percent in October on-year, in line with expectations of economists polled by Reuters.

It was the eight straight month of annual declines in core consumer prices, and will likely turn up the heat on policymakers to introduce more stimulus.

South Korea’s benchmark Kospi ended 0.16 percent higher, or 3.2 points, at 1,974.46. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.56 percent as of 3:10 pm local time.

Chinese shares regained their footing to trade positive, with the Shanghai composite closed up 0.61 percent, or 19,76 points, at 3,261.49 while the Shenzhen composite finished up 0.394 percent, or 8.35 points, at 2,129.85.

U.S. markets were shut on Thursday for Thanksgiving, while major retail outlets opened their doors for so-called “Black Friday” sales, which heralds the start of the festive season shopping.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, remained near a 14-year high at 101.62.

The dollar has been on a tear ever since Donald Trump’s surprise presidential election victory on November 8. A Trump administration or “Trumponomics” was expected to boost fiscal stimulus and inflation in the U.S. The dollar’s climb had spurred a selloff across emerging markets recently, dubbed a Trump tantrum.

“Even though its a little bit surreal that [Donald Trump is] president, folks have accepted the fact that he is there and sentiment seems to be shifting toward a comfort level that he is going to initiate these stimulative measures that he’s talked about,” Frank Troise, managing director at Leonteq Securities in Singapore, said to CNBC’s “The Rundown.”

Moreover, the recent strong economic data out of the U.S. and rising market expectations for a Fed hike in December are also helping to drive the greenback higher.

The People’s Bank of China set the yuan mid-point fix at 6.9168 against the dollar, compared with the currency pair’s last close at 6.918. The dollar/yuan was trading at 6.9153 as of 2:22 pm HK/SIN at a nearly eight-month low.

The Australian dollar was steady at $0.7443 against the dollar Friday afternoon, compared with levels below $0.735 last week.

“Commodity prices and oil supply cut headlines are providing essential support for the commodity bloc,” Stephen Innes, senior trader at Oanda, said in a note on Friday.

Spot gold was down 0.29 percent at $1,179.84 an ounce on Friday. Gold prices were down 3 percent for the week, likely weighed by continued dollar strength. Gold is denominated in dollars and a stronger greenback pressures the yellow metal’s price.

Crude prices slipped during Asian trade on Friday, ahead of the closely watched Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting on November 30. U.S. crude futures were down 0.75 percent at $47.60 a barrel, while Brent crude dropped 0.88 percent at $48.57.

“Brent oil is parked just below $50 as traders wait on the outcome of the OPEC meeting. This sets oil up for a significant move next week depending on whether or not OPEC achieves an agreement on meaningful production cuts,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a note on Friday.

Source: CNBC

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