In Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks rose on Friday morning on gains for most sectors after Wall Street climbed overnight, while Japan Display jumped on hopes that Apple may use liquid crystal technology on one of its new smartphones. The Nikkei 225 index advanced 1.0 percent to 22,715.31 in mid-morning trade. The broader Topix gained 0.8 percent to 1,800.18, with all of its 33 sub-sectors in positive territory. Australian stocks put on 0.3 percent while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.7 percent. In Greater China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.21 percent and the Hang Seng Index picked up 0.87 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar edged up on Friday, on track for a weekly gain against a basket of currencies, as the passage of a bill to temporarily extend U.S. government funding raised investors’ optimism that a tax reform bill would also pass. The U.S. currency cleared 113.00 yen to reach 113.34, while the euro touched a two-week low at $1.1763. Also on the radar are negotiations between the United Kingdom and Ireland on how to run their post-Brexit land border. British Prime Minister Theresa May was reported to be meeting European Union chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels early Friday. Speculation about an agreement saw sterling rebound to $1.3492, having been as low as $1.3320 at one point on Thursday.
In Commodities Markets oil prices were stable on Friday, held back by a strengthening U.S. dollar but supported by China’s relentless thirst for crude amid the OPEC-led supply cuts that have already tightened the market this year. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $56.68 a barrel, virtually unchanged from their last settlement at $56.69. Brent crude futures were also little changed, at $62.21 a barrel, up just one cent. China’s crude oil imports rose to 37.04 million tonnes in November, or 9.01 million bpd, the second highest on record, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Friday. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,248.86 an ounce and silver rose 0.3 percent to $15.77 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks rose on Thursday, buoyed by popular technology companies including Facebook and Alphabet, while shares of yoga pants seller Lululemon Athletica also worked up a sweat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.29 percent to end at 24,211.48 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.29 percent to 2,636.98. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.54 percent to 6,812.84. Lululemon jumped 6.43 percent after the Canadian apparel maker reported a higher-than-expected profit and gave an upbeat holiday season forecast. General Electric increased about 0.3 percent after the industrial conglomerate said it was cutting 12,000 jobs at its global power business.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices edged higher on Friday, with a lift from the Bank of Japan’s regular debt-buying operation offsetting negative pressure from weaker U.S. Treasuries. The benchmark 10-year yield was down 0.5 basis point at 0.045 percent. The yield curve flattened a touch as the super long sector fared well following the previous day’s well-received 30-year JGB auction. The 30-year yield fell 1 basis point to 0.820 percent.
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