Asian Equities Surge as Chinese Markets Stay Under Pressure

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By Investors Hub

Asian stocks finished broadly higher on Friday, although growth concerns kept Chinese markets under pressure. While easing of U.S.-EU trade tensions supported underlying sentiment, the upside remained limited ahead of U.S. GDP data and the Bank of Japan policy meeting due next week.

Chinese stocks closed lower, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ending down 8.63 points or 0.3 percent at 2,873.59. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index inched up 23.14 points or 0.1 percent to 28,804.28.

Japanese shares closed higher even as underlying sentiment remained cautious on speculation that the Bank of Japan might signal plans to unwind its massive stimulus program next week.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 125.88 points or 0.6 percent to 22,712.75, while the broader Topix index closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,775.76.

Japan Tobacco, Eisai, Shin-Etsu Chemical, Yahoo Japan and Fuji Electric rallied 2-6 percent. On the flip side, securities brokerage Nomura Holdings dropped 5.8 percent after reporting a 91 percent drop in its profit for the June quarter.

On the data front, consumer prices in the Tokyo area advanced an annual 0.9 percent in July, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.7 percent and was up from 0.6 percent in June. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food costs, advanced an annual 0.8 percent.

Australian shares rallied as investors cheered news that BHP Billiton will sell its troubled U.S. shale oil and assets to BP for $10.5 billion. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 55.70 points or 0.9 percent to 6,300.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 53.90 points or 0.9 percent at 6,391.50.

BHP Billiton shares jumped 2.3 percent. The big four banks rose between 0.7 percent and 1.6 percent. Energy stocks such as Origin Energy, Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum rose 1-2 percent after crude oil prices extended gains to a third session overnight.

Gold Miner Newcrest Mining advanced 1.7 percent after reporting a 15 percent increase in fourth-quarter gold output.

On the other hand, AMP plunged 5.2 percent after the wealth manager lowered profit expectations and announced a series of actions being taken to reset the business. Treasury Wine Estates lost 2.5 percent to extend losses for a third straight session.

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