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dpa-AFX: Asian Markets Advance On Upbeat U.S. Data

| Quelle: dpa-AFX Analysen
CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are trading higher on Friday amid improving investor confidence following the release of upbeat economic data from the U.S. overnight. The Japanese market is leading the gains after media reports indicated that the country's $1.2 trillion pension fund will increase its holdings of equities. The Australian market is trading higher, after data showed that the U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 27.30 points or 0.50 percent to 5,503.50 and the All Ordinaries Index is up 26.90 points or 0.49 percent to 5,484.00. In the banking sector, ANZ Bank is adding 0.36 percent after the company said its full-year profit grew 15 percent to A$7.3 billion, while its cash profit rose 10 percent to A$7.1 billion. National Australia Bank is up 0.7 percent, Commonwealth Bank is up.0.02 percent and Westpac Banking is adding 0.49 percent. In the mining space, BHP Billiton (BHP) is advancing 0.54 percent, Rio Tinto (RIO) is gaining 1.2 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding 0.58 percent. However, Newcrest Mining is down 4.6 percent after the company said it is considering making changes to its executive pay structure. Wealth manager Macquarie Group's profit for the half year ended September 30 grew 35 percent from the year-ago period to $678 million, amid strong demand for fixed-income investments and a weak Australian dollar. The company's shares are gaining 2.5 percent. In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at US$0.8824, up from Thursday's close of US$0.8765. The Japanese market is advancing, buoyed by the overnight gains on Wall Street and improved earnings from technology companies. Investor sentiment was also lifted by media reports which indicated that Japan's $1.2 trillion pension fund will increase its holdings of equities. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is currently gaining 263.06 points or 1.68 percent to 15921.26, after earlier touching a high of 15958.91. Japan's giant public pension fund, the Government Pension Investment Fund, is now reportedly expected to raise its stock holdings to 25 percent of assets from a current target of 12 percent, while its bond holdings would be reduced by half. Toshiba Corp. is adding 2.7 percent after the company reported a 43 percent increase in profit for the first half of the year to 30.8 billion yen, while Fujitsu is down 6.5 percent despite a 65 percent surge in profit for the period to 24.1 billion yen. NEC Corp reported a turnaround to profit of 4.8 billion yen in the six-month period. The company's shares are gaining 3.5 percent. Nissan Motor is rising more than 3 percent after the automaker said that its Leaf model is on track to beat the U.S. record for electric car sales in a single year. Among other gainers, Kyocera is advancing more than 5 percent, Fanuc is up 4 percent. Terumo Corp., Central Japan Railway, Nikon Corp, Secom Co and Daiwa Securities are trading higher by more than 3.5 percent each. Meanwhile, Casio Computer is down 6.5 percent, pacific Metals is losing 5 percent, Sumitomo Dainippon is trading lower by almost 4 percent and NCK Insulators is declining 3.8 percent. Among the other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan are all trading in positive territory. On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday, partly reflecting positive reaction to a report from the Commerce Department showing stronger than expected third-quarter GDP growth. A separate report from the Labor Department showed a modest increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended October 25. The Dow surged 221.11 points or 1.3 percent to 17,195.42, while the NASDAQ rose 16.91 points or 0.4 percent to 4,566.14 and the S&P 500 climbed 12.35 points or 0.6 percent to 1,994.65. The major European markets all moved higher over the course of the session on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent. U.S. crude oil ended sharply lower on Thursday, as the dollar strengthened after some upbeat data showed gross domestic product in the U.S. to have risen more than expected, even as official data showed oil production to have risen to nearly 9 million barrels a day -- the most in over three decades. Crude oil futures for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, plunged $1.08 or 1.3 percent to close at $81.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday. Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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