RTTNews - Asian markets are mostly trading firm on Friday with participants indulging in some hectic buying as worries over global economy subsided to an extent following some better-than-expected economic data from the U.S. and Japan.

The Australian stock market opened higher and despite some selling in subsequent trading, has rallied higher and is up firmly in positive territory now. Energy, materials and bank stocks are up sharply. Healthcare, communications, consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks are also trading firm.

Diversified financials stock Macquarie Group is up by over 3% following the company entering into an agreement to acquire Canadian energy advisory firm Tristone Capital Global for approximately $C116 million (US $132.75 million). Tristone has offices in Canada, the US, UK and Argentina, and offers corporate finance, acquisitions & divestitures, equity capital markets, sales, trading and research services.

Shares of Primary Health Care Ltd are in demand on announcement from the company that it has raised more than it expected from a placement of new shares to institutional investors. The pathology services and medical centers operator said it had raised A$315 million, up from its initial goal of A$265 million. The firm issued 63 million shares at A$5 each, reflecting a small 0.8 per cent premium to its share price close of A$4.96 on Wednesday. The stock is currently trading up 6.3%.

The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 is up 51.50 points at 3,807. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 3,802, up 48.50 points over its previous close.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average is up 7.36 points at 9459. Earlier, after an early surge to 9,489.66, it had drifted down to 9,442 following a fairy strong round of selling in some oil, healthcare, chemicals and textiles stocks.

Automobile, non-ferrous, machinery and insurance stocks are trading higher while bank and oil stocks are trading mixed.

In economic news, Japan's industrial output jumped 5.2 percent in April from the previous month, marking the second straight month of increase as companies continue to restock after a heavy run-down of inventories late last year.

Unemployment rate rose to 5.0% in April from 4.8% in March, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said Friday. The figure broke above the 5% level for the first time since the 5.1% figure logged in November 2003. The number of jobless rose by 710,000 year on year to 3.46 million, marking the sixth straight monthly increase, with the figure for men increasing 0.4 percentage point to 5.3% and that for women shrinking 0.1 percentage point to 4.6%.

And, according to a release from the Internal Ministry, Japan's core consumer price index slipped 0.1% year on year to 100.7 in April.

The Korean market remains a bit subdued amid choppy trades with participants not evincing any keen interest in picking up stocks despite positive cues from Wall Street. While a few front line stocks have come off their highs due to lack of support, a lot many are trading weak right from the start this morning.

Automobile stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend. Technology, oil, shipbuilding and steel stocks are exhibiting weakness. Bank stocks are also seen struggling for support.

The KOSPI, which has been moving in and out of positive territory since this morning, is currently down 1.43 points at 1,391.

Among other markets in the region, New Zealand is trading firm with its benchmark NZX 50 gaining nearly a percent. The Hang Seng index of the Hong Kong market is up modestly by 0.36%. The Indonesian index Jakarta Composite is up 1.41%, while the Singaporean Straits Times is trading up 1.21%.

Stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, although the markets in Hong Kong and Mainland China were closed.

On Wall Street, bolstered by the results of the $26.0 billion seven-year note auction conducted by the Treasury Department, stocks rebounded on Thursday. Earlier, a slower than expected pace of new home sales for April had resulted in some uncertain movements.

Crude oil settled above US$65 per barrel for the first time since November on Thursday after an Energy Information report showed a larger-than-expected decline in weekly inventories.

The Dow closed up 103.78 points or 1.3 percent at 8,403.80, the Nasdaq closed up 20.71 points or 1.2 percent at 1,751.79 and the S&P 500 closed up 13.77 points or 1.5 percent at 906.83.

Major European markets all closed firmly in negative territory. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index fell 1.0 and 1.4 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also closed down 0.7 percent.

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