Asian markets mixed after previous rally
HONG KONG – Asian markets were mixed in early trade on Friday after impressive rallies in the previous session while investors took heart from another strong performance on Wall Street.
Hong Kong added 0.22 percent by the break, Sydney was flat and Seoul rose 0.30 percent but Tokyo slipped 1.00 percent and Shanghai eased 0.42 percent.
Shares on Japan’s Nikkei remained under pressure after the yen strengthened in New York against the greenback while it continued to stay strong against the euro.
Wall Street saw a third day of gains on Thursday thanks to another round of upbeat earnings figures from some of the country’s biggest firms.
IBM posted better-than-expected quarterly profits and raised its full-year estimate, while online auction house eBay said its profit more than doubled in the April-June period.
While Washington reported weak jobs and housing data dealers seemed to be unfazed owing to expectations of more stimulus measures to prop up the world’s biggest economy.
The Labor Department reported 386,000 initial jobless claims were filed in the week ending July 14, an almost 10 percent increase from the prior week’s upwardly revised figure and well above expectations of a rise to 365,000.
And the National Association of Realtors said sales of existing, or previously occupied, homes fell 5.4 percent in June from May, instead of an expected rise.
The Dow climbed 0.27 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.27 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.79 percent.
On currency markets the dollar bought 78.63 yen, firming from 78.59 yen in New York Thursday, when it slipped 0.3 percent against the Japanese unit on the back of the weak economic data.
The euro was at $1.2263 and 96.41 yen in Tokyo, compared with $1.2282 and 96.43 yen in New York.
However, concerns remain over Europe, where a Spanish bond auction Thursday resulted in sharply higher borrowing costs and lower demand, pushing rates on the secondary market up towards the seven-percent level seen as unsustainable.
Dealers were unmoved by the widely expected approval by Germany’s parliament of a European aid package for Spain’s banks that aims to prevent the country’s economy from going under.
Spain is hoping to get a first slice of 30 billion euros by the end of the month and has in turn agreed to a raft of banking sector reforms and EU inspections to ensure the restructuring process is effective.
Crude oil prices were lower with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, shedding 51 cents to $92.15 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September sliding 26 cents to $107.54.
Gold was at $1,582.63 an ounce at 0415 GMT, from $1,584.20 on Thursday.
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