Asian shares rise in thin trade as markets watch Trump

Screens for the Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq-100 are displayed at Nasdaq, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in New York. It's been a record-making week on Wall Street. The S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite closed at all-time highs on Tuesday and Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Screens for the Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq-100 are displayed at Nasdaq, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in New York. It's been a record-making week on Wall Street. The S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite closed at all-time highs on Tuesday and Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

HONG KONG — Asian stocks drifted mostly higher Friday in quiet trading as traders and investors prepared for the start of the lunar new year holiday across much of the region.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.4 percent to 19,474.15, helped by the dollar's surge against the Japanese yen, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.1 percent to 23,356.57. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6 percent to 5,703.30. Markets in China, South Korea, Taiwan were closed while Malaysia was open only for the morning session.

LUNAR NEW YEAR: Many Asian countries are going on holiday for varying lengths, curtailing trading across much of the region. Mainland China will take the longest break, shutting down for an entire week.

TRUMP: With little in the way of market-moving events expected in Asia, investors were focusing on the latest moves by U.S. President Donald Trump. He plans to slap a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for his promised border wall, in an announcement that left markets uncertain about what it means for trade. Trump's joint press conference with visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May scheduled for later Friday could also provide trading catalysts, especially for the pound.

QUOTEWORTHY: "What worries me is that Mexico accounts for only around 8 percent of American's trade deficits," said Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore. "Whereas U.S.'s trade deficit with the Pacific Rim is approximately six times larger than that of Mexico. His hard stance toward Mexico could give us a hint of his future trade policies against the Pacific Rim countries, especially China."

US DATA: Fourth-quarter U.S. economic growth estimates are due out later along with the latest round of corporate earnings. The numbers will provide fresh insight on the world's biggest economy and help guide Fed officials as they plan further interest rate increases this year.

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks had a mixed finish. The Dow Jones industrial average inched further into record territory, rising 0.2 percent to 20,100.91. But the broader S&P 500 index fell 0.1 percent to 2,296.68. The Nasdaq slid 0.02 percent to 5,655.18.

CURRENCIES: The dollar climbed to 114.89 yen from 114.46 in late trading Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.0681 from $1.0684.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 8 cents to $53.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.03, or 2 percent, to close at $53.78 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, crept 1 cent higher to $56.50 a barrel in London.

People also read these

Asian stocks markets retreat after Wall Street loss

Dec 23, 2016

Most Asian stock markets have declined in thin trading ahead of the Christmas holiday after Wall...

Asian shares mixed as investors consider latest Fed minutes

Jan 5, 2017

Asian stock indexes mixed as investors assess latest Fed meeting minutes; Japan shares slip as yen...

EU asks China to open markets following free trade support

Jan 25, 2017

The European Union ambassador to China has welcomed its endorsement of free trade in the face of...

Asian shares waver, dollar soft after Fed keeps rates steady

Feb 2, 2017

Asian markets are wavering and the dollar has lost some steam after the Fed kept its key lending...

China's exports jump 7.9 pct in January from year earlier

Feb 10, 2017

China reports its exports rose 7.9 percent in January over a year earlier, rebounding from the...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com