ASIA MARKETS: Nikkei Rises As Yen Retreats; Other Asian Markets Cautious

By Ese Erheriene Features Dow Jones Newswires

Markets largely down as Trump starts Asian trip

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Global stock markets lacked direction to start the week despite record gains on Wall Street, with Japan's Nikkei outperforming as the yen was weaker.

The Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.4% in early trade as traders returned after a three-day weekend. The yen steepened its declines against the U.S. dollar midmorning, last down 0.6%, as Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank would be patient about easing.

The weaker yen drove Japanese exporters higher, with Fast Retailing (9983.TO) rising 2.3%, Honda Motor (HMC) up 2%, and Toyota Motor (7203.TO) up 0.6%.

The dollar was also broadly higher against regional currencies in early trade, following Friday's improved U.S. employment data. The WSJ Dollar Index was last up 0.2%.

Meanwhile, Asian technology stocks got a lift Monday after strong earnings from Apple Inc. (AAPL) helped key U.S. stock indexes close at fresh records Friday. Taiwan's main Taiex added 0.3%, while the Taiex technology subindex gained 0.6%.

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More broadly, however, investors were cautious as President Donald Trump's Asia trip continued. Korea's Kospi was down 0.5%, New Zealand's NZX50 declined 0.3% and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1%.

Financial stocks were a key point of weakness across the region, as expectations for a rise in U.S. interest rates in December increased after the employment data.

Japan's Topix bank subindex fell 0.5%, while Australia's big four banks traded lower. Westpac Banking (WBK) led the declines, down 2.4% after disappointing earnings.

"On headline numbers alone, there seems little to inspire and that will disappoint the index bulls, given the ASX financial sector is failing to contribute to the ASX rally," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Group.

Oil prices started the week modestly higher, building on Friday's gains, helped on by fresh drilling-activity declines in the U.S.

Brent , the global benchmark, was up 20 cents at $62.27 a barrel, while Nymex rose 17 cents to $55.81 a barrel.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 05, 2017 21:34 ET (02:34 GMT)