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ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Mixed As Japan's GDP Beats Forecast, China's Yuan Remains Stable

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08/08/2019 | 11:35pm EDT

By Marketwatch and Associated Press

Nikkei gains, but Hang Seng gives up early gains

Asian markets were mixed in early trading Friday after Japan's GDP grew, but so did China's inflation.

New data showed Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the June-ended second quarter. The economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.8%, beating analysts' estimates of 0.4% growth, according to Dow Jones Newswires .

China's central bank set the yuan's daily midpoint above 7 per U.S. dollar for the second straight day. Still, the reference point of 7.0136 yuan per dollar was stronger than analysts' estimates, and reassured investors that China is not seeking an all-out currency war.

Meanwhile, China's consumer inflation hit a 17-month high , with the consumer-price index up 2.8% year-over-year in July. The Wall Street Journal had estimated a 2.7% rise. Food prices, though, shot up 9.1% year-over-year amid an outbreak of swine fever. Indexes in Hong Kong and mainland China reversed early gains after the data was released.

Trade tensions showed no signs of letting up as Bloomberg News reported the Trump administration was holding off on approving licenses for U.S. tech companies to resume doing business with China's blacklisted Huawei Technologies Co. in retaliation for China's suspension of U.S. agricultural purchases .

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.7% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gave up early gains and was last down 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.2% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite was last down 0.6%. South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.1%, and benchmark indexes in Malaysia and Indonesia gained. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2%. Markets in Taiwan and Singapore were closed for holidays.

Among individual stocks, Sony rose in Tokyo trading, along with (1605.TO) Inpex and SoftBank . In Hong Kong, China Mobile gained, as did Sunny Optical and New World Development . Samsung and LG Electronics advanced in South Korea, and Commonwealth Bank gained in Australia after the country's central bank said it may cut interest rates further if necessary.

Technology companies powered stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, driving the S&P 500 to its best day in more than two months and erasing its losses for the week.

The rally, which pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average up by more than 370 points, followed an early rise in bonds yields after a weekly government report on unemployment claims came in better than economists had expected.

The absence of new worrisome turns in the U.S.-China trade tussle may have also helped keep investors in a buying mood.

The S&P 500 index rose 54.11 points, or 1.9%, to 2,938.09. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 371.12 points, or 1.4%, to 26,378.19. The Nasdaq composite , which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, vaulted 176.33 points, or 2.2%, to 8,039.16. It also had its best day in more than two months and was on track to end the week with a gain.

Benchmark crude rose 9 cents to $52.63 a barrel. It rose $1.45 to $52.54 a barrel Thursday. Brent crude oil , the international standard, added 7 cents $57.45 a barrel.

   The dollar   rose to 106.01 Japanese yen from 105.97 Thursday. 

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CHINA MOBILE LTD. 0.00% 64.6 End-of-day quote.-13.23%
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP -0.98% 2977.08 End-of-day quote.19.18%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA -0.16% 82.05 End-of-day quote.13.52%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.06% 26949.99 Delayed Quote.15.47%
HANG SENG -0.86% 26205.09 Real-time Quote.2.27%
INPEX CORP -0.52% 1060 End-of-day quote.9.65%
KOSPI COMPOSITE INDEX -0.01% 2091.38 Real-time Quote.2.45%
LG ELECTRONICS INC. End-of-day quote.
NASDAQ 100 -0.06% 7818.610034 Delayed Quote.24.83%
NASDAQ COMP. -0.06% 8112.461954 Delayed Quote.23.32%
NEW WORLD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD. -0.89% 9.99 End-of-day quote.-3.76%
NIKKEI 225 0.16% 22079.09 Real-time Quote.10.14%
S&P 500 -0.01% 2991.78 Delayed Quote.19.36%
S&P/ASX 200 0.28% 6749.7 Real-time Quote.18.97%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP 0.17% 4624 End-of-day quote.-33.99%
SONY CORP 0.56% 6411 End-of-day quote.24.53%
SUNNY OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY (GROUP) CO. LTD -4.85% 113.9 End-of-day quote.63.65%
US DOLLAR / CHINESE YUAN RENMINBI (USD/CNY) 0.39% 7.1167 Delayed Quote.3.13%
US DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (USD/JPY) -0.13% 107.451 Delayed Quote.-1.93%
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