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Friday 03.20 BST
What you need to know
- Brent oil strengthens
- Tokyo, Hong Kong stocks dip
- Gold heads for first weekly gain in five weeks
- Kobe Steel slips as data falsification scandal widens
Asia stocks were mixed on Friday as bourses took a breather after closing at decade highs earlier in the week, while the greenback was relatively flat ahead of US inflation data.
Australian equities were among the best performers in the Asia-Pacific region, as some other bourses dipped. The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.1 per cent as the materials sector rose 0.2 per cent. Lithium producers were among the best performing miners, with Galaxy Resources and Orocobre climbing 3.2 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.
Kobe Steel was again among the worst performers on Japan’s Topix index as the company added data about steel wire to the list of products affected by a falsification scandal. Kobe Steel shares slipped 8.6 per cent on Friday, bringing its loss for the week to 41.2 per cent. The Topix index was flat after closing on Thursday at its highest in a decade.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was off 0.1 per cent as the information technology sector and real estate sector dipped 0.5 per cent.
The S&P 500 closed 0.2 per cent lower on Thursday after hitting a record closing high the previous session.
The dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of peers, edged lower to 93.006.
The Singapore dollar was 0.2 per cent weaker against its US counterpart at S$1.3547 after the Monetary Authority of Singapore kept policy on hold and forecast economic growth to moderate in 2018. “It looks like MAS is giving themselves flexibility to tighten next year should conditions warrant. The earliest we see MAS exiting from the neutral stance is in October 2018,” ANZ said in a note.
Sterling was marginally stronger against the dollar to $1.3268, while the euro strengthened 0.1 per cent to $1.1843.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.1 per cent to ¥112.21.
The yield on 10-year US Treasuries was down 2.2 basis points at 2.327 per cent.
Oil prices strengthened in Asia trade with international benchmark Brent rising 0.3 per cent to $56.41 a barrel after settling 1.2 per cent lower the previous session. West Texas Intermediate edged up 0.4 per cent to $50.80 a barrel after a 1.2 per cent dip on Thursday.
Gold rose 0.1 per cent to $1,295, heading for its first weekly gain since early September.
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