Asian Shares Mostly Higher In Thin Holiday Trading

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Friday, with Hong Kong leading regional gains. Trading volumes were thin due to holidays in mainland China and South Korea.

Underlying sentiment was underpinned by a fall in oil prices and declining bond yields ahead of key U.S. inflation data due later in the day.

The dollar pulled back, helping gold prices recover some lost ground. Oil prices were marginally higher in Asian trade after falling sharply overnight on expectations of supply increases by Russia and South Korea.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 2.5 percent to 17,809.66 ahead of China PMI data due over the weekend. Tech stocks topped the gainers list after the release of draft rules by China’s cyberspace regulator to ease cross-border data-security controls.

Japanese shares ended little changed in the final trading day of the week as investors reacted to a mixed bag of economic readings.

Japan’s factory output was flat in August and retail sales grew 7 percent from a year earlier in the month while core inflation in Tokyo slowed in September for the third straight month, a slew of data showed.

The unemployment rate in August came in at 2.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month.

The Nikkei 225 Index finished marginally lower at 31,857.62 as shipping stocks fell on going ex-dividend and energy stocks tracked oil prices lower.

Tech stocks surged, with Advantest and Tokyo Electron both climbing around 3 percent each. The broader Topix Index settled 0.9 percent lower at 2,323.39.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent to 7,048.60, snapping a three-day losing streak on hopes that the RBA meeting in October will result in another pause. The broader All Ordinaries Index gained 0.4 percent to close at 7,249.70.

Core lithium shares soared 19.1 percent after the company turned profitable for the first time.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index rallied 1.1 percent to 11,296.43 after a late rebound on the back of end-of-quarter buying.

U.S. stocks closed higher overnight after bond yields slipped from 16-year highs and crude prices pulled back from their highest level in more than a year.

In economic releases, unemployment claims edged up in the week ending Sept. 23 and pending home sales plunged in August while GDP increased at an unrevised 2.1 percent annualized rate last quarter, a slew of data showed.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.6 percent and the Dow rose 0.4 percent.

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