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Market Update

Nikkei Lags in Positive Asia

Asian markets traded mostly higher Friday, inspired by overnight gains on Wall Street; but Japanese stocks lagged behind on account of a stronger yen.

The Nikkei fell 1.5% as the Japanese currency gained ground against the dollar.

Across other markets, sentiment was upbeat as investors took cues from their U.S. counterparts. At close, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.8% while the Hang Seng was up 0.6%. The Sensex ended slightly higher up 0.1% while the All Ordinaries gained 0.9%.

In economic news, consumer inflation in China remained unchanged at 2.5% in January from the previous month, slightly more than expectations for a 2.3% fall. However, producer prices fell 1.6%, on-year.

Stocks on the Move

Mazda Motor reversed 3.3%. Toyota was down 1.3% while Honda was 1.1% lower. Nissan bucked the trend among auto stocks and was up 1.1%.

Sony fell 2.7% while Panasonic was down 3.7%. Olympus dropped 4.8% and Sharp was down 2.3%. NEC Corp. gave up 3%.

China Vanke retreated 0.6% in Shenzhen after the company’s Chairman Wang Shi warned of serious risks facing the domestic property market this year, according to the state-run China Securities Journal.

Other real estate stocks also retreated in Shanghai.

Tencent Holdings was up 1.6%, extending prior gains.

Cipla extended losses, down 2.1% after falling almost 8% yesterday after announcing results. Coal India finished flat after sliding over 3% in previous session after it reported its third straight quarterly decline in net profit.

Other top losers were Bajaj Auto, down 3.4%; BHEL down 2.2%; Hero MotoCorp., down 1.8% and SBI, down 1.6%.

India was also due to release wholesale price inflation numbers later in the day. Investors will focus on the Finance Minister who will present the interim budget next week Monday ahead of elections in May.

Rio Tinto moved up 0.1% in volatile trading in Sydney after the company’s results yesterday showed it swung to an annual profit.

Gold miner Newcrest was down 1.9% after it said first-half net profit fell due to a drop in the price of the yellow metal.