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Market Update

Asia Adds But China Drags

Asian stocks ended higher but Chinese equities lagged behind Friday after the country's finance minister Lou Jiwei’s said late yesterday that economic growth would likely average 7% this year.

The Shanghai Composite lost 1.6% while the Hang Seng retreated 0.7%. Elsehwere, the Nikkei edged up 0.2%, the Sensex rallied 1.4% and the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries finished up 0.2%.

Jiwei’s estimate of 7% growth is lower than the government’s own target of 7.5% growth, and a decline from the 7.7% growth reported for the first quarter of this year. The country is due to report second quarter GDP growth figures next week Monday. 

Overnight, Wall Street finished higher with both the S&P 500 and the DJ Industrial Average rallying to close at record highs. 

Stocks on the Move 

Fast Retailing dropped about 6% in Tokyo after the company reported lower operating profit despite a strong sales growth. 

Auto majors were modestly higher while heavyweight Sony declined 0.4%. Canon and Toshiba gained 1.2% and 1.4% each, respectively. 

Inpex Corp. traded near the flat-line. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial gained 1.3% while Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Financial were up about half a percent each. 

But banks were all slightly lower in Hong Kong. 

Jiangxi Copper dropped 2.2% and Zijin Mining Group lost around 2%. 

Property shares traded mixed as Hang Lung Properties fell 2.9%, but China Overseas Land & Investment inched up 0.2%. 

Software major Infosys surged 11% in Mumbai and was the top gainer on the Sensex after it maintained annual revenue forecast and reported a 3.7% rise in first quarter net profit. Other peer group stocks also gained with Mumbai-based TCS rising 3%, while cross-town rival Wipro was up 3.3%. 

Other gainers included Tata Motors, up 2.3%, while BHEL and RIL 0.9% and 2.2% respectively. 

In Sydney, miners extended gains as index leader BHP Billiton advanced 1.4% and Rio Tinto rose 0.8%. Fortescue Metals was up 2.6%. 

Gold miner Newcrest brightened 8.9% after hefty gains yesterday while Perseus Mining also bounced over 13%.