RTTNews - The markets across the Asia-pacific region extended their gains on Friday taking cues from Wall Street where the indices rose more than 2% each amid mixed economic data.

In the U.S, the Dow snapped its four-day losses and ended sharply higher as traders did some bargain hunting in a number of embattled sectors that have trended lower for much of the past month. On the economic front, traders digested a report from the Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims for the week ended June 20th came in at 627,000, up from last week's revised figure of 612,000. In a separate report, the Commerce Department revealed first quarter GDP contracted by a revised 5.5% compared to the 5.7% decrease that had been reported in the preliminary report.

The Dow finished up by 172.54 points, or 2.08% at 8,472, the Nasdaq rose 37.20 points or 2.10% to 1,830 and the S&P 500 jumped 19.32 points to 920.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened higher at 9,853 compared to its previous close of 9,797. Increasing optimism about a global recovery helped the index extend the gains, with the average closing at 9,877, representing a gain of 81.31 points or 0.83%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues ended at 927, up 7.03 points or 0.76%.

Light sweet crude August delivery ended at $70.64, up 30 cents in the Asian session after gaining $1.56 to $70.23 per barrel in New York on Thursday following reports of violence in Nigeria.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revealed that the index of all industry activity dropped 9.9% year-on-year in April, slower than a 11.9% fall in the preceding month. In a separate report, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that consumer prices fell 1.1% year-on-year in May, with the decline coming in line with economists' estimate, after a 0.1% drop in the previous month, mainly due to lower prices for utilities, transport and communication.

Tire makers led the gains after Bridgestone, the largest tire-company in the world, stated that it expects to report a narrower loss for the first half of the year. The stock gained 8.5%. Yokohoma Rubber advanced 7.57% and Sumitomo Rubber Industries gained 8%.

Nippon Electric, the third largest producer of glass for flat panel televisions, gained more than 6% after doubling its operating profit forecast for the latest quarter, on increasing demand for its products. Among others in the sector , Asahi Glass advanced 2.6%.

Oil stocks advanced on higher crude oil prices. Impex gained 1.75%, Nippon Oil Corp advanced 3.07% and Showa Shell edged up 0.39%

Financials ended mixed. While Mitsubishi UFJ gained 1.16%, Mizuho Financial slipped 0.83% , and Resona Holdings fell 0.73%. However, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial remained unchanged from previous close.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened slightly higher at 3,857 from its previous close at 3,851 and continued to trade in positive territory throughout the session before ending with a gain of 48.00 points, or 1.25%, at 3,899. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended higher at 3,903, representing a gain of 47.80 points, or 1.24%.

Light sweet crude August delivery ended at $70.64, up 30 cents in the Asian session after gaining $1.56 to $70.23 per barrel in New York on Thursday following reports of violence in Nigeria.

Oil stocks led the gains following a rise in crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum gained 2.02%, Santos advanced 1.91% and Oil Search rose 1.87%.

Financial stocks ended in positive territory on growth prospects. ANZ Bank gained 2.18%, Commonwealth Bank Australia advanced 2.96%, National Australia Bank rose 3.72% and Westpac Banking increased 2.52%.

Gold stocks advanced following a rise in bullion prices. Lihir Gold gained 1.72%, Newcrest Mining edged up 0.10% and Sino Gold advanced 1.53%.

Quantas Airways gained 1.77% following the news that the largest air-carrier in the country had canceled half of its 30 plane order for Dreamliner 787 planes placed with Boeing Co. and also delayed the remainder by four years.

On the other hand, material stocks ended in negative territory on profit taking after recent gains. BHP Billiton eased 0.98%, Oz Minerals lost 3.23% and Rio Tinto shed 1.53%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index opened higher at 18,408 compared to its previous close at 18,275 and continued to trade in positive territory on optimism about growth. The market ended with a gain of 325.23 points, or 1.78%, to close at 18,600.

Property and financial stocks continued their northward movement on increasing optimism about growth prospects. Hang Lung Property surged 5.38%, SHK Property advanced 3.05%, Henderson Land Development added 1.01%, Wharf Holdings rose 4.28% and SinoLand increased 0.75%.

Among the financials, Bank of Communications gained 3.82%, ICBC added 1.11%, Bank of China advanced 1.95%, China Commercial Bank edged up 0.67% and Hang Seng Bank added 0.23%.

Among resources, Aluminum Corp. of China, or CHALCO, gained 3.46%. PetroChina advanced 2.60% and CNOOC, the largest offshore oil company in China, gained 3.01%. Oil refiner Sinopec Corp rose 1.60%.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in positive territory led by technology stocks and increasing hopes of recovery, amid volatile trading. The market opened higher at 1,402 compared to previous close at 1,393, and finally closed with a marginal gain of 1.80 points, or 0.13% at 1,395.

Market-leader Samsung Electronics gained 1.36% and LG Electronics added 1.28% and LG Display added 0.78%.

Shipbuilder also ended in positive territory. Hyundai Heavy Industries climbed 3.31% and Samsung Heavy Industries gained 2.09%.

Ssangyong Motor, the smallest auto firm, rose 3.94% after the company, currently dealing with a strike among its workers over downsizing efforts, proposed a plan to end a month-long strike.

Shipping stocks ended weaker amid profit taking after two days of gains. Hyundai Heavy Engineering declined 1.30% and Samsung Heavy Industries lost 1.88%.

In India, the stock market ended in the positive territory with sharp gains as a new series is started for July. negative territory amid short covering on the last day of the expiry of derivative contracts for June period.

The BSE Sensex gained 2.92% or 419.02 points, to close at 14,765, and the broader Nifty index ended sharply higher with a gain of 3.15% or 133.65 points, to close at 4,375.

Among other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index edged up 3.165 points, or 0.11% to close at 2,928, Taiwan's Weighted Index gained 5.59 points, or 0.19% to close at 6,462, and the Strait Times Index in Singapore added 15.49 points or 0.67% to close at 2,318. However and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index edged down 3.98 points, or 0.19% to close at 2,040.

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