In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index rose to a more than two-week high on Friday morning, helped by shares in most sectors while chip-related stocks such as Sumco and Tokyo Electron outperformed. The Nikkei gained 0.8 percent to 22,536.93 in midmorning trade after rising to as high as 22,757.40, the highest since Nov. 9. The broader Topix gained 0.6 percent to 1,771.71. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.8 percent. In Greater China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.55 percent and the Hang Seng index rose 0.80 percent. The Australian index, S&P/ASX 200, gained 0.34 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell on Friday, weakened by a Wall Street Journal report that investigators into possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election had subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s election campaign for documents. The greenback lost about 0.6 percent to 112.405 yen, lowest since Oct. 19. The euro rose 0.35 percent to $1.1814 , paring overnight losses. The pound rose 0.35 percent to $1.3238 to put further distance between the week’s low of $1.3063 marked on Monday when perceived troubles for British Prime Minister Theresa May hurt the currency. The Australian dollar crawled up 0.15 percent to $0.7598. The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was down 0.35 percent at 93.593.
In Commodities Markets oil prices steadied on Friday after recent declines, but were on track for their first weekly fall in six weeks as concerns about rising U.S. supplies put a dent in the market’s recent rally. Brent crude futures were at $61.31 per barrel, down 5 cents from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $55.32 a barrel, up 0.3 percent, from their last settlement. Spot gold had climbed by 0.3 percent to $1,282.72 per ounce. U.S. gold futures for December delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1,282.70. In other precious metals, silver was up 0.1 percent at $17.098 an ounce, platinum rose 0.4 percent to $934.50 and palladium gained 0.3 percent to $990.25.
In US Equity Markets main indexes rose sharply on Thursday boosted by earnings-related gains in Wal-Mart and Cisco, while a tax bill expected to boost corporate earnings passed its first, if smallest, hurdle. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent, to 23,458.36, the S&P 500 gained 0.82 percent, to 2,585.64 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.3 percent, to 6,793.29. Wal-Mart rose as much as 11 percent to a record high of $99.68 after reporting its strongest U.S. revenue growth since 2009 and rising online sales. Cisco touched $36.67, its highest since February 2001, a day after quarterly profit beat expectations driven by gains from its newer businesses such as security, which more than offset declines in its traditional switches and routers.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices were little changed across the board on Friday, with a regular debt-purchasing operation conducted by the Bank of Japan helping offset negative pressure from stronger equities and weaker U.S. Treasuries. The two-year JGB yield and five-year yield were unchanged at minus 0.195 percent and minus 0.120 percent, respectively. The benchmark 10-year yield was flat at 0.040 percent.
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