Asia-Pacific equities were modestly higher Friday, following regional declines a day earlier.
Australian stocks outperformed, with commodity-related equities leading the way. The S&P/ASX 200 was recently up 0.5% at 5962--hitting a 2017 high for the second day in a row--and moving closer to 2015's peak of 5996.9. Topping that would put the index at its best level in 10 years.
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BHP Billiton rose 1.2%, putting the week's gain at 4%, while Rio Tinto added 0.5% to hit a six-year high. Higher metals prices were helping Korean steel producers, with Posco climbing 0.8%. That helped Korea's Kospi rise 0.1% even with Samsung pulling back 1.8% after its latest record highs.
Metal prices rebounded this week, with steel and iron ore among the leaders. Nickel has been a standout by jumping 23% over the past month due to expectations that supply will tighten on demand from electric-vehicle producers.
While Taiwan's benchmark opened up 0.4%, indexes in New Zealand and Singapore were down slightly. Japanese markets were closed Friday for a holiday.
Overnight, U.S. stocks moved little and the dollar reversed declines made during Asian trading Thursday. U.S. President Donald Trump's naming of Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve didn't lead to a market reaction.
Oil prices continued to rise in Asian trading Friday, with the U.S. benchmark joining global standard Brent in reaching levels last seen in mid-2015. Futures were up as much as 0.5%.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia said it has seen indications that the production-cap deal led by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will be extended through 2018.
Write to Lucy Craymer at Lucy.Craymer@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 02, 2017 21:53 ET (01:53 GMT)