Asia report: Most markets higher as renminbi strengthens
Investors in Asia ended a week of central bank updates on a high on Friday, with most stock markets in the region closing in the green.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.18% at 23,360.30, as the yen strengthened 0.37% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 104.35.
Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was up 0.83% and fashion firm Fast Retailing rose 0.31%, while technology conglomerate SoftBank Group was 1.09% weaker.
SoftBank announced earlier in the session that it would sell its holding in mobile services company Brightstar.
The broader Topix index added 0.49% by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,646.42.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was up 2.07% at 3,338.09, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite advanced 1.51% to 2,219.91.
Renminbi strengthened against the dollar once again during the session, with the onshore yuan reaching CNY 6.7523, while the offshore yuan was trading at CNY 6.7484.
South Korea’s Kospi added 0.26% to close at 2,412.40, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was 0.47% higher at 24,455.41.
The blue-chip technology stocks were mixed in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics down 0.34%, while SK Hynix rose 1.82%.
“All major Asian indices spent most of the day in positive territory, however traders are still very cautious, because this stock rally is missing the next significant catalyst,” said AvaTrade chief market analyst Naeem Aslam.
“The Federal Reserve’s meeting this week failed to prop up the markets.”
Aslam noted that next week, there was a series of speeches from the Fed’s committee members scheduled, who could further clarify the central bank’s narrative.
“Having said that, this may not be enough because the market is looking for something new, and in the absence of that, it is more likely that this stock rally will continue to consolidate or grind lower.”
Oil prices were higher as the region entered the weekend, with Brent crude last up 0.37% at $43.46 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate adding 0.22% to $41.06.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 went the other way to its regional peers, falling 0.32% to 5,864.50.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 also ended the week in negative territory, losing 1.22% to 11,633.52.
The down under dollars were mixed against the greenback, with the Aussie last 0.07% weaker at AUD 1.3685, while the Kiwi strengthened 0.39% to NZD 1.4745.