Asian Equities Give up Early Gains to End Mixed Friday

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By Investors Hub

Asian stocks gave up early gains to end mixed on Friday after the Senate vote on the tax bill was delayed and a private survey showed that activity in China’s vast manufacturing sector slowed in November to the weakest pace in five months.

The dollar held steady against the Japanese yen and oil prices extended overnight gains after a decision by the world’s biggest oil producers to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018, helping support underlying sentiment to some extent. Regional manufacturing surveys also painted a mostly positive picture.

Chinese stocks ended roughly flat on concerns over slowing growth after the Caixin manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.8 in November from 51.0 in October, signaling a slight slowdown in growth.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.62 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,317.81, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 103.11 points or 0.4 percent to 29,074.24.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares rose for a third day as the yen weakened against the greenback and investors digested mostly positive readings on manufacturing, inflation, private capital expenditure, household spending and unemployment.

The Nikkei 225 Index closed up 94.07 points or 0.4 percent at 22,819.03, taking its weekly gain to 1.2 percent. The broader Topix Index closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,796.53.

Sharp Corp. jumped almost 8 percent on news that its shares will return to the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 7th. Toshiba gained 1.8 percent on a Bloomberg report that the Japanese conglomerate and Western Digital (WDC) are close to settling their legal dispute.

Australian shares eked out modest gains, led by financials and industrials on U.S. tax reform hopes. Positive manufacturing data also buoyed sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose by 19.86 points or 0.3 percent to 5,989.76, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 17.40 points or 0.30 percent at 6,074.60.

Lender ANZ gained 0.6 percent and Westpac rose 0.3 percent, shrugging off concerns surrounding a government inquiry into the banking and financial sectors.

Billabong International soared 21.8 percent after the surfwear retailer received a confidential, non-binding merger proposal from Boardriders.

The uptick in oil prices helped lift energy stocks, with Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search rising 1-2 percent. Beach Energy shares jumped as much as 8.6 percent. Mining giant BHP Billiton rose over 1 percent and biotechnology firm CSL advanced 1.6 percent.

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