TOKYO, Dec 25, (Agencies): Japanese factory output and US consumer confidence are among the few trading cues in the last trading week of the year, with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 on track to be one of the best-performing major stock indices globally.
The Japanese market is open from Monday through Wednesday in what is expected to be quiet trading in a holiday-shortened week.
On Friday, Tokyo closed lower, as a strong yen dented exporters, with most Asian markets shut for a public holiday.
However, Chinese shares rose on stimulus expectations, though gains were limited by the lack of trading enthusiasm as the year end approached, dealers said.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.43 percent, or 15.42 points, to 3,627.91. It rose 1.37 percent over the week.
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, gained 0.57 percent, or 13.36 points, to 2,359.73. It climbed 1.03 percent during the week.
Taiwan added 0.47 percent. Most other regional financial markets were closed.
Tokyo was dragged down by a stronger yen — bad news for exporters’ profitability — as the dollar slipped to 120.11 yen against 120.28 yen on Thursday in New York.
“The yen is back where it was before US interest rates were raised,” Nomura strategist Juichi Wako told Bloomberg News.
“The fact that markets aren’t pricing in the next interest rate hike in the US is the biggest factor” for the dollar’s weakness, Wako said.
The Nikkei 225 slipped 0.11 percent, or 20.63 points, to 18,769.06 by the close. Over a holiday shortened week, it lost 1.15 percent.
Japanese markets were closed Wednesday for a public holiday.
The broader Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 0.49 percent, or 7.43 points, to 1,516.19. It was down 1.36 percent this week.
With just a few days left of 2015 trading, the Nikkei is among the best-performing stock markets globally, rising 7.55 percent since the start of the year.
The Topix index is up 7.72 percent since the end of 2014.
Shortly before markets opened Friday, official figures showed Japan’s inflation rate ticked higher in November — the first gain in five months — but still-weak household spending weighed on the world’s number three economy.
In share trading, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dropped 4.64 percent to 517.5 yen after it said Thursday it was postponing delivery of the first made-in-Japan passenger jet by one year to the second quarter of 2018.
The company cited “several issues” discovered after the jet’s maiden test flight last month.
Toshiba fell 1.81 percent to 216.6 yen after its chief executive told the leading Nikkei business daily that the crisis-hit firm may deepen the scope of its restructuring.
The shares were hammered this week after Toshiba warned over a record $4.5 billion annual loss and thousands of layoffs following an embarrassing profit-padding scandal.
Energy explorer Inpex fell 1.61 percent to 1,161 yen, while JX Holdings was down 0.45 percent to 504.4 yen.
Toyota slipped 0.75 percent to 7,483 yen and Sony fell 0.55 percent to 2,933.5 yen.
Meanwhile, Tokyo’s benchmark stock index closed lower Friday, its fifth straight day of losses, as a stronger yen dented exporters, with most Asian markets shut for a public holiday.
However, mainland Chinese indices rose in afternoon trade, with Shanghai advancing 0.10 percent and Shenzhen edging up 0.14 percent.
Taiwan added 0.47 percent in afternoon deals.
Most other regional financial markets are closed.
Tokyo was dragged down by a stronger yen — bad news for exporters’ profitability — with the dollar slipping to 120.11 yen against 120.28 yen on Thursday in New York.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 0.11 percent, or 20.63 points, to 18,769.06 by the close.
The broader Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 0.49 percent, or 7.43 points, to 1,516.19.
Meanwhile, China stocks rose slightly on Friday as trading volumes in Shanghai shrank to a two-week low in a reflection of the Christmas holiday across many of the major global centres.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen edged up 0.2 percent, to 3,838.20, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 percent, to 3,627.91 points.
For the week, CSI300 advanced 1.9 percent while SSEC was up 1.4 percent.
Most sectors, including banking, telecommunications and infrastructure rose slightly, but transportations stocks ended the session in negative territory.
Business confidence among China’s entrepreneurs and bankers dipped in the fourth quarter of 2015 from the third, according to surveys by the People’s Bank of China published on Thursday. The Hong Kong market is closed on Friday due to the Christmas holiday.