Asian Stocks Advance, Set for First Annual Gain Since 2013

Updated on
  • Australian shares fall from the highest since July 2015
  • Half of top 10 performers for 2016 were materials companies

Asian equities climbed for a third straight session on the last trading day of the year as Japanese stocks trimmed losses as the yen weakened. A gauge of Australian shares retreated from the highest close since July 2015.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2 percent at 3:02 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge has risen 2.3 percent in 2016, set for first annual gain since 2013. Half of the 10 best performers of the year in the region were materials companies, with Indonesia’s Adaro Energy rising 230 percent. U.S. stocks ended Thursday’s session little changed after data showed jobless claims declined.

"Asian markets could see another day of mixed performances on the final trading day of the year with little inspiration for price direction," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. "The market is likely to be repositioning for the New Year with U.S. markets and that could place some pressure on markets that have underperformed lately."

Thailand’s Stock Exchange of Thailand SET Index has soared 20 percent in 2016, Indonesia’s Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite Index has jumped 16 percent, while Taiwan’s Taiex rose 11 percent. The worst performers were Chinese stocks -- the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index tumbled 12 percent and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index sank 11 percent.

Summary

  • Shanghai Composite +0.2% and Shenzhen Composite +0.4%; Hong Kong’s HSCEI +1%; Hang Seng +1%
  • West Texas Intermediate crude +0.5%, heading for its first annual gain in three years
  • Australia’s S&P ASX 200 -0.6%; Taiwan’s Taiex +1.1%; Singapore’s Straits Times +0.3%; Sensex +1%
  • South Korea, Philippines closed
  • "I think what’s certain in markets is that we can see that economic activity is actually improving, and the U.S. economy is operating at full capacity, and inflation is increasing across the board," James Cheo, investment strategist at Bank of Singapore, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday. "Inflation is going to be an important theme for 2017."

For more Asia stock markets news:
Southeast Asia’s Best Stock Has More Room to Rise on Cost Cuts
Chinese IPOs Post Record 392% Gains as Rest of Market Languishes
Taiwan Plans to Cut Same-Day Trading Transactions Tax by Half

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