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Asia markets mixed after US stocks slide

Friday 02.55 BST

Overview

Stocks across Asia were mixed after Wall Street staged its biggest retreat in three weeks, despite gains for commodity prices.

Hot topic

Taiwanese and Korean technology stocks were in the limelight this week, responsible for pushing their respective stock markets to multi-year and record highs.

Taiwan’s Taiex was flat but had closed above 10,000 points in the previous session for the first time since February 2000 and the dotcom boom. Stocks — particularly Apple suppliers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Hon Hai Precision Industry (also known as Foxconn) — have been instrumental in pushing the index higher this year.

South Korea’s Kospi eased 0.4 per cent from Thursday’s record high. While market gains have been driven by heavyweight Samsung Electronics, investors on Friday turned their attention to Netmarble Games, the world’s third-biggest maker of mobile games, which made its debut in Seoul on Friday. Netmarble shares were up as much as 9.2 per cent, but had trimmed that early gain by a little more than half as of mid-morning trade.

Equities

Japan’s Topix was down 0.6 per cent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7 per cent, with materials one of the only sectors to enjoy a gain as commodity prices stabilised.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat, while China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.2 per cent.

Shares in commodities trader Noble Group have lost almost half their value over the past two sessions after warning it might not be profitable until 2019.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent from a record high in Wall Street’s biggest one-day fall in three weeks. Low levels of volatility have kept market moves subdued.

Forex

The New Zealand dollar was down 0.2 per cent at an 11-month low of $0.6835 after data showed house sales fell the most in six and a half years. The kiwi was the worst-performing major currency for the second consecutive day, having tumbled 1.3 per cent on Thursday when the country’s central bank issued a more dovish policy statement than analysts had expected.

The Japanese yen was 0.1 per cent firmer at ¥113.72 per dollar. The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers, was down 0.1 per cent at 99.553.

The British pound was up 0.1 per cent at $1.2898 in Asia, recovering about a quarter of Thursday’s decline when weak industrial production data offset a more upbeat tone from the Bank of England as it kept interest rates on hold.

Commodities

Oil prices were eyeing their first three-day winning streak in a month. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.1 per cent at $50.81 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was up 0.1 per cent at $47.88.

Gold was up 0.1 per cent at $1,226.63 an ounce.

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