Asia Markets: Nikkei again leads widespread Asian-market gains

Asia Markets: Nikkei again leads widespread Asian-market gains

Asian stocks markets were mostly higher in early trading Friday, building on fresh gains seen overnight in Europe and the U.S.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.92%   advanced 0.5%, helped by more declines in the yen USDJPY, +0.23%   during overseas trading. Up 3.5% last week, the index is on its way to slightly surpassing that in this holiday-shortened week ahead of another three-day weekend. Friday’s gains were driven by insurers and metals companies, with Japan Post Insurance 7181, +2.12%  up 2% while Pacific Metals 5541, +4.15%   and Mitsui Mining & Smelting 5706, +4.31%  each jumped about 4%. Buoyed by the falling yen, export-heavy electronics companies such as Kyocera 6971, +3.98%  and TDK 6762, +3.67%  rose, though Sony 6758, -1.83%   fell 2%

Hong Kong stocks extended their recent rebound, with the Hang Seng Index

HSI, +0.86%   up 0.3% after having climbed five of the prior six days to log a 2½-week closing high Thursday. Financials performed well with China Construction Bank 0939, +1.35%  , Ping An 2318, +1.55%   and AIA 1299, +2.52%   up more than 1%. Tencent rose 0700, +1.54%   1.4%. But CNOOC 0883, -3.41%   dropped 2% on the overnight pullback in oil prices.

Chinese stocks continued their pause. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.98%   was fractionally lower while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.68%   was up slightly. Consumer plays, including tourism-related, started well ahead of upcoming holidays and the State Council’s latest paper on consumption. With solid profitability, steady cash flow and still-benign fundamentals, Galaxy Securities expects the food-and-beverage sector to continue outperforming the broader market. But energy names were down on the overnight drop in oil prices.

Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.35%   advanced slightly ahead of a weeklong holiday, with Samsung 005930, -0.63%   and SK Hynix 000660, -3.16%  dropping. Benchmarks in Taiwan Y9999, +0.92%  , Singapore STI, +0.98%   and Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.48%   all rose as well.

Down Under, Australia’s ASX 200 XJO, +0.52%   rose 0.5%, as mining giant Rio Tinto RIO, +1.63%   gained after announcing a $3.2 billion share buyback plan, while New Zealand’s NSZ-50 NZ50GR, -0.19%   slipped.

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