Asia markets traded zigzagged on Friday, with some energy shares supported as oil prices continued to rise. China's Shanghai Composite added put on 0.2%, while both South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.1%.
Asian Markets Zigzag But Go Nowhere
Asian Markets Zigzag But Go Nowhere
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average traded flat. There's no clear direction for today trading.
The Japanese Yen was trading at 80.38, while Friday morning the CSPI in Japan reported below forecast.
Japan's central-bank governor offered a reminder Thursday of the risks facing the nation's banks from a concentration of Japanese government-bond holdings.
Japan's banks have continued to pour money into government debt, despite near-record-low yields and the nation's deteriorating fiscal conditions. But any sudden rise in interest rates could expose the banks to trillions of yen in losses, Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa said in response to a lawmaker's question at a parliamentary committee on the strong yen and deflation.
As the yen finally weakens against the dollar, Japan's exporting manufacturers are sitting on potential operating-profit gains that could be worth billions of dollars.
The Australian stock exchange closed the week on a high note after a positive lead from Wall Street.
The S&P/ASX200 index broke through the 4,300 point resistance level for the first time since early December, finishing up 20.6 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 4,306.8 points.
European markets were subdued overnight, but US markets gained ground after jobless claims data signaled that the American labor market was getting back on its feet.
US unemployment data today showed the week ending February 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised figure of 351,000. The 4-week moving average was 359,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 366,000.
That's given a little bit of positive sentiment to the market and also suggests that Wall Street is going to open higher again tonight.
National Australia Bank was the strongest performer of the big four banks, appreciating 31 cents, or 1.34 per cent, to $23.52. ANZ was up 13 cents to $22.20, Westpac put on 12 cents to $20.78 and Commonwealth Bank was up 18 cents at $49.70.
While the Aussie was lifted almost one US cent, on the back of optimistic business data from Germany, and commentary from the Australian reserve bank.
Mr. Stevens, addressing a House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics on Friday, said the cash rate would likely remain steady at 4.25 per cent, despite the major banks' decision to raise interest rates. RBA Governor Stevens was very positive on the Australian economy and growth. He's reiterated that growth is around trend and inflation is within targets, so the RBA's comfortable with rates where they are.
Where as in Europe, the debt crisis will drag the eurozone into a long-feared double-dip recession this year, pulling down most neighboring non-euro economies in its wake, the EU said overnight.
New data predicted a 0.3-per cent contraction in GDP throughout 2012, compared with the previous estimate of 0.5-percent growth, indicating that deep challenges remained for the single currency area only days after a decision to mount a new €237 billion ($295 billion) bailout of Greece.
The unexpected stalling of the recovery in late 2011 is set to extend into the first two quarters of 2012, the European Commission stressed it saw a mild recession with signs of stabilization.
Overall, it was a quiet end to a worrisome week in Asia.
AUD/USD Pivot Points (Time Frame: 1 Day)
Name S3 S2 S1 Pivot R1 R2 R3