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Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street gains

Mar 31 2017 07:41

Beijing - Asian stock markets were mixed higher on Friday after Wall Street gained and Chinese factory activity improved.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1% to 19 078.81 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3% to 3 220.28.

Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.3% to 5 880.20 and Seoul's Kospi was little-changed at 2 164.00.
India's Sensex retreated 0.1% to 29 604.21 and benchmarks in Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta also declined. New Zealand and Singapore gained.

WALL STREET: Stocks were boosted by gains for banks and other financial companies on rising bond yields, which result in higher rates on loans. That nudged the Nasdaq composite index to an all-time high.

Energy companies also gained as crude oil prices rose. Utilities and other high-dividend stocks fell. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3% to 20 728.49.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 0.35 to 2 368.06. The Nasdaq gained 0.3% to 5 914.34.
CHINESE MANUFACTURING: Manufacturing activity accelerated in March in what the government said is a sign economic growth is stabilizing.

A purchasing managers' index released by the National Bureau of Statistics rose to 51.8 from February's 51.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding.

The sub-index for production rose to 54.2 from February's 53.7.

TRUMP WATCH: US President Donald Trump tweeted that his April 6 to 7 meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, "will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses."

On Friday, Trump was due to sign orders for an official report on trade abuses by other governments and for authorities to step up collection of anti-dumping duties on imports.

"A bad meeting with President Xi would raise the prospect of a trade war," said Tim Condon of ING in a report.

"Unfortunately, his failure to close the deal on Obamacare dents confidence in Trump's ability to get to yes with President Xi."

US GDP: The Commerce Department raised its estimate for economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 2.1% from 1.9%. It said consumer spending increased more than expected.

The Labour Department said applications for unemployment benefits dipped last week. The latest data follow positive reports on consumer confidence and housing this week.

OIL DEAL: ConocoPhillips agreed to sell most of its Canadian assets to Canada's Cenovus Energy in a deal valued at $13.2bn. ConocoPhillips stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 index, climbing $4.05 to $50.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to ¥112.06 from Thursday's ¥111.91. The euro rose to $1.0681 from $1.0677.

ENERGY: Benchmark US crude fell 18 cents to $50.17 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract rose 84 cents on Thursday to close at $50.35. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 26 cents to $52.87. It gained 59 cents the previous session to $53.13.

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