Hong Kong: Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Friday as a rally on Wall Street gave a lift to investor sentiment while Tokyo was boosted by a weakening yen.
Japan’s Nikkei index gained 0.29% by the break, Hong Kong was 0.25% higher in early trade, Seoul gained 0.10% and Shanghai added 0.10% but Sydney was 0.53% off.
Tokyo traders were some given impetus as the yen edged lower, although utilities weighed amid concerns over the future of some companies and problems containing the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The dollar rose to ¥81.70 in Tokyo early trade from ¥81.60 in New York late Thursday and the euro gained to ¥116.83 from ¥116.82.
The euro bought $1.4303, hardly changed from $1.4308 in New York, but well up from $1.4265 in Asia on Thursday.
The single currency has risen on expectations the European Central Bank will hike interest rates soon, although lingering concerns over Greece’s debt troubles capped any strong advances.
Stock market dealers were given a good cue from Wall Street where markets shrugged off weak economic data after a powerful debut for business social-networking firm LinkedIn, which soared almost 110%.
The Dow rose 0.36%, the broader S&P 500 gained 0.22% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 0.30%.
The gains came despite US figures showing existing-home sales fell in April, while there was a sharp drop in the Fed’s Philadelphia regional manufacturing index.
The Conference Board’s leading economic indicators index also fell for the first time since June 2010.
A slight dip in weekly jobless claims offered a glimmer of good news, but claims remained stuck above the 400,000 threshold.
Oil rebounded in early trade, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, advancing 38 cents to $98.82 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery gaining 17 cents to $111.59.
Gold opened at $1,494.00-$1,495.00 per ounce, down from its Wednesday close of $1,490.00-$1,491.00.