RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in positive territory on Friday taking cues from Wall Street where major indices continued their northward march for the fourth successive session led by earnings. However, thin volumes and long weekend ahead impacted sentiment as the index traded in a narrow range amid political uncertainty. The market will remain closed on Monday for a holiday.

In the U.S., stocks ended in positive territory for the fourth consecutive session as buying interest returned to the market in the afternoon session amid the release of better-than-expected results from JP Morgan (JPM). Earlier in the day, traders digested a Labor market report that showed a the drop in weekly jobless with a pinch of salt amid suspicion of skewness in the data.

Separately, the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing an increase in homebuilder confidence in the month of July, with homebuilders seeing an improvement in current sales conditions. Traders also digested a report from Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia which showed that the index of manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region fell by more than economists had been expecting.

The Dow closed up by 95.61 points or 1.1% at 8,712, the Nasdaq climbed by 22.13 points or 1.2% to 1,885 and the S&P 500 rose by 8.06 points or 0.9% to 941.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened higher at 9,414 compared to its previous close of 9,344 and further moved higher to a high of 9,421 on positive cues from Wall Street. However, profit taking at higher levels ahead of the long weekend amid thin volumes limited gains, as traders preferred to move to sidelines ahead of earnings from Bank of America, Citigroup and GE later in the day. The index ended in positive territory with a gain of 51.16 points, or 0.55% at 9,395. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues gained 6.04 points, or 0.7%, to 878.

Light sweet crude oil for August delivery ended the Asian trading session at $61.74, down 28 cents, after ending Thursday's session in New York at $62.02, up $0.48 a barrel on expectations of rise in energy demand.

Property developers advanced after Barclays Plc said that the outlook for the industry is positive. Barclays also upgraded ratings for the major players in the market. Mitsubishi Estate was granted overweight rating by Barclays. The stock gained 4.38%. Mitsui Fudosan gained 3.88%. Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. gained 4.05%

NEC plunged 8.86% following reports that the company is planning to raise funds for investment in lithium battery production. Sony Corp. declined 0.9% after its mobile joint venture partner Ericcson AB reported a net loss for the recent quarter on weak demand.

Financial stocks ended in positive territory. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial gained 0.75% , Mizuho Financial advanced 1.58%, Resona Holdings added 1.60% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial edged up 0.27%.

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