ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Perk Up As Stronger Dollar Boosts Exports

By Lucy Craymer Features Dow Jones Newswires

Markets rebound from losses earlier this week

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Equity markets across Asia moved higher on Friday, shrugging off technology-led declines overnight in the U.S., as a stronger U.S. dollar boosted export stocks in the region.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.5% as the yen weakened. The U.S. dollar was up 0.2% against the Japanese currency compared with Thursday's close in New York.

Among exporters, Mitsubishi Electronic (6503.TO) added 1.4%, Honda Motor (HMC) gained 0.5% and Yamaha Motor (7272.TO) was up 0.7%.

Elsewhere, markets rebounded from earlier declines this week, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index up 0.4% in early trading, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4% and Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index was up 0.3%.

"A bit of calm is returning to the equity markets," said Ric Spooner, chief strategist at CMC Capital in Australia.

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Spooner noted that while technology stocks had faltered in the U.S. their prices still haven't collapsed, and the impact on their Asian counterparts was limited.

The Nasdaq ended down 0.5% Thursday, leading declines among the major indexes, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.1% and the S&P 500 losing 0.2%.

In Asia, a number of technology stocks posted gains, with Japan's SoftBank (9984.TO) up 2.8% and Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision (2317.TW) , a key manufacturer of Apple's iPhones, rising 2%.

In China, shares remained under pressure, even as the country's central bank on Friday made the largest single-day cash injection into the financial system since mid-January to boost market liquidity. The net 250 billion yuan (US$36.73 billion) injection was widely seen as aimed at easing a seasonal funding squeeze induced by corporate-tax payments and regulatory requirements on banks' capital.

Investors' focus remained on Anbang Insurance Group, whose chairman was allegedly detained by Chinese authorities, and the potential fallout the company's troubles could have on local stocks. Chinese banks have taken steps to limit their exposure to the group and have slowed marketing of Anbang-branded investments to their customers in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Worries about heightened regulatory scrutiny over Chinese corporate activity could continue to weigh on the wider market in China in the near term, analysts say. The Shanghai Composite Index was last down 0.2%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index was down 0.1%.

In other markets, iron-ore prices rose overnight due to stronger demand as higher steel prices encouraged Chinese steel mills to boost output and purchase raw materials.

However, Commonwealth Bank of Australia commodities strategist Vivek Dhar said data in China showed that property construction levels have weakened and mortgage lending has slumped, highlighting the risk surrounding the nation's property sector.

"Stability appears the pathway forward for China's commodity-intensive sectors given the mix of data in May," said Dhar.

Oil prices, along with gold and silver, were all casualties of the strengthening U.S. dollar, although oil prices took an extra hit after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries increased its forecast for U.S. oil production.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2017 23:29 ET (03:29 GMT)