August 12th, 2011
09:48 AM GMT
Hong Kong, China (CNN) – Most Asia-Pacific markets ended Friday moderately higher, rounding out a week of wild volatility. Better-than-expected data out of the U.S. – including lower jobless claims numbers and good earnings from tech bellwether Cisco – helped boost investor confidence.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.20%, failing to stay above the psychological 9,000-point mark after briefly touching it in morning trade. At 430 pm Hong Kong time, the yen was trading at 76.71 to the dollar, once again nearing its post-war high. That strength impacted exporters. Auto manufacturers Nissan and Honda were down, 2.26% and 1.25% respectively. Electronics maker Sony closed down 2.04%.
In Greater China, the Hang Seng closed up 0.13%, paring earlier gains. That was not enough to break a longer downward trend. Today marks a third week of overall losses for the index. Li & Fung soared today after beating first-half net income forecasts by about $30 million. The company supplies clothes and other consumer goods to Wal-Mart after inking a major deal in January 2010. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.45% higher, following the region’s climb on those good U.S. numbers, as well as on continued speculation the People’s Bank of China will avoid raising interest rates in its fight against inflation, which currently stands at 6.5%.
Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.77%, losing earlier gains as some investors cashed out before the weekend. The nation’s big four banks reversed all their gains and ended mixed. ANZ Bank rose 0.8%; National Australia Bank closed down 0.5%. Mining stocks gained in early trading, lost ground but still managed to close marginally in the green.
After all the ups and downs over the last five days, you might be scratching your head wondering how markets turned out overall this week. Since Monday, the Nikkei lost more than 2%, the Hang Seng was the biggest loser of the major markets down nearly 3.5%, the Shanghai Composite only lost about 0.4% while the ASX 200 actually gained nearly 2.5%. Investors, no doubt, are looking forward to a break this weekend but the roller coaster ride may start up again next Monday.
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