RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended higher on Friday, on increasing optimism about economic recovery following better than expected economic data on industrial production for the country as well as positive data from China. Brokerages advanced on expectations of higher profit following the recent equity market resurgence.
In the U.S., traders were presented with mixed economic data. A report from the Commerce Department revealed that retail sales rose 0.5% in May following a revised 0.2% decrease in April. Economists had expected sales to increase by 0.5% compared to the 0.4% decrease originally reported for the previous month. In a separate report, the U.S. Labor Department revealed that initial jobless claims, a closely watched gauge of layoffs, came in at 601,000 for the week ended at June 6th. This was down 24,000 from the previous week's revised level of 625,000. However, continuing claims, which measure the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, rose to 6.816 million in the week ended May 30th. Due to an upward revision to the previous week's figure, continuing claims rose to a new record high for the 19th consecutive week.
Traders also digested the results of the Treasury Department's auction of $11.0 billion worth of thirty-year bonds. The sale drew a high-yield of 4.72%, its highest level since August of 2007 but below estimates of 4.80%.
The Dow closed up 31.90 points or 0.4% at 8,771, the Nasdaq closed up 9.29 points or 0.5% at 1,862 and the S&P 500 closed up 5.74 points or 0.6% at 945.
The Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply higher at 10,088 compared to its previous close of 9,981, and continued to advance further on recovery hopes. A positive closing on Wall Street Thursday and better than expected industrial production data lifted the market, as the index firmly traded about the psychological 10,000-mark. The index finally closed at 10,136, representing a gain of 154 points, or 1.54%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues also advanced to 951, with a gain of 9.49 points, or 1.05%.
On the economic front, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Japan's industrial production grew 5.9% month-on-month in April, revised up from the preliminary estimate of 5.2%. On a yearly basis, production plunged 30.7% in April. In a separate statement, the Cabinet Office revealed that consumer confidence in the country improved to 36.3 in May from 33.2 logged in the previous month, higher than economists' mean expectation of 34.0 for the month.
Crude oil prices ended lower by $0.72 at $71.96 a barrel in Asian trading, after advancing $1.36 to $72.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday.
Brokerages led the gains in the market. Nomura Securities surged up more than 5% after Merrill Lynch raised its rating of the stock to buy from neutral anticipating better profits on increasing trading volumes. Daiwa Securities advanced 4.11%.
Retail stocks also advanced after an economic report in the U.S revealed that retail sales rose 0.5% in May, raising hopes of a revival in demand. Among the retail stocks, Seven & I Holdings gained 4.62%, and Aeon Co. soared more than 8.5%.
Shipping stocks also move to the upside after the benchmark Baltic Dry Index, a measure of commodity cargo costs, rose for the first time in six days in London. Among the major stocks, Kawasaki Kisen advanced 3.2%, Mitsubishi OSK Lines gained 1.43% and Nippon Yusen rose 2.16%.
Oil stocks declined on lower crude oil prices and profit taking. Inpex ended down 1.94%, Nippon Oil Corp. edged down 0.82% and Showa Shell edged down 0.10%.
Financial stocks ended mixed on profit taking. Mitsubishi UFJ gained 1.72% and Mizuho Financial Group added 0.37%. However, Resona Holdings edged down 0.94% and Sumitomo Mitsubishi lost 2.90%.
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