Japan Stocks up 2%

Japan Stocks up 2%

Asia-Pacific markets mixed on Friday, following a volatile session on Wall Street overnight, where investors reacted to Federal Reserve comments and GDP data from the United States.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan gained about 2.09 percent to close at 26,717.34 after falling nearly 3% on Thursday, while the Topix gained 1.8 percent to close at 1,876.89. South Korea’s Kospi recovered losses to close 1.87 percent higher at 2,663.34.

The ASX 200 index in Australia rose 2.19 percent to 6,988.1 at the close.

The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.97 percent to close at 3,361.44, while the Shenzhen Component dropped 0.53 percent to 13,328.06. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.05 percent in late afternoon trading. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan rose 0.19 percent. On Friday, the Taiwan market will be closed for a holiday. On Friday afternoon, Hong Kong will release its fourth-quarter GDP report.

Tech Movers

SoftBank Group shares rose 2.20 percent after the Japanese conglomerate announced a management transition. Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure will leave after nine years with the company. Claire, also CEO of SoftBank Group International and Masayoshi Son’s right-hand man, took over as CEO of WeWork after founder Adam Neumann stepped down.

Michel Combes has been named CEO of SoftBank Group International, where he will be in charge of the company’s operations and investments.

Shares of Apple suppliers in Asia rose sharply after the tech giant beat earnings estimates in the United States on Thursday.

The Hang Seng Tech index, which focuses on technology, fell 1.6 percent. JD.com, a Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech behemoth, fell 2.84 percent, while Xiaomi fell 1.33 percent.

Investors reacted to Fed news, as well as the latest GDP figures and corporate earnings. Hence, Wall Street stocks were volatile overnight.

Despite an increase in omicron cases, the United States GDP increased 6.9 percent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2021; it exceeded analyst expectations.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq retraced earlier gains to close lower. In contrast, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 600 points during intraday trade but finished nearly flat at 34,160.78.

So far this month, all three indexes have been firmly in negative territory.

On Thursday, spot gold fell to a two-week low of $1,790.20 as the US dollar rose on signs that the Fed will raise interest rates soon. It has since recovered and was the last trading in Asia at $1,796.

US crude futures rose 0.68 percent to $87.20 per barrel during Asia trading hours, while Brent crude rose 0.64 percent to $89.91 per barrel.