Most Asia-Pacific stock markets chalked up modest gains early Friday, following fresh records on major U.S. indexes, stemming two days of declines in the region.
“Generally we are going to be tracking the upbeat wave of sentiment” from Wall Street, said Stephen Innes, head of trading in APAC at Oanda. Still, he’s not expecting a sizable rebound in Asia ahead of the weekend.
Continued gains in the yen further pressured Japanese stocks — the Nikkei NIK, +0.01% was recently down another 0.2% as the dollar JPYUSD, -0.002696% was around ¥111.25, compared with ¥111.80 when local stock trading ended Thursday.
Some investors have been reversing bets that the yen’s value would fall as the Federal Reserve continues to tighten monetary policy and the Bank of Japan and the Bank of Japan is seen as being some time off increasing its rates.
Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.09% was recently up 0.1%, despite Samsung Electronics 005930, -2.86% falling another 1.9% in morning trading. Since Tuesday’s fourth-quarter update, the company has skidded 9%, on pace for its worst week since May 2012.
Two markets that have tracked consistently higher this year are Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Hang Seng Index is near all-time highs, having risen a record 13 straight days, and the Shanghai Composite on Friday will seek a record-breaking 11th consecutive increase. The Hang Seng HSI, +0.40% is recently trading up 0.6%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.10% is up 0.2%.
Chinese trade data for December is due before midday. That can move not just mainland markets, but others in the region — China is the biggest trading partner for most Asian countries.
Elsewhere, U.S. oil futures fell some 0.3% in Asian trading, reversing the gain seen during U.S. trading, which put that contract up for a 15th day in 19 and at fresh three-year highs.