World Economy

Asian Shares Mixed

Asian Shares MixedAsian Shares Mixed

Asian shares were mixed on Friday after US markets closed higher on strong company results that boosted investor sentiment.

Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1% to a two-week high as a weaker yen boosted exporters.

The yen was at 107.97 against the dollar, pulling away from two-week lows hit early on Friday.

Earlier, the S&P 500 closed 1.2% higher at 1,951, after positive results from big firms including Caterpillar and 3M.

Among the Nikkei’s highlights, shares in car giant Toyota were up 1.8% after it said it would post record profits for the nine months to September.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Shanghai Composite ended flat, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was down 0.1%.

China’s government said on Friday that property prices across its 70 biggest cities fell 1.3% during September from a year earlier.

Property developers have been cutting prices in an attempt to revive slow sales and unload houses.

China has seen falling sales throughout 2014 and banks have become more cautious about lending to both developers and investors.

In South Korea, the Kospi lost 0.3% despite data showing the country’s economy grew 0.9% in the three months to September.

The advanced numbers compare with a 0.5% rise in the earlier quarter.

“The [third-quarter] release showed private consumption improving marginally and investment recovering amid a stabilization in business confidence, supported by the rate cut in August,” economist Wai Ho Leong from Barclays said in a note.

He said a closer look at the growth numbers showed the main contributor to the quarterly growth was private consumption, but that net exports had “turned into a drag”.

South Korean exports fell for the first time in a year, dropping 2.6% compared with the quarter before.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 ended up 0.5%, taking its lead from Wall Street.

 Wall Street

The stock market is acting as if the mid-October swoon never happened, despite a general — and fairly recent — sense of caution on Wall Street.

Strategists at JPMorgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch released reports this week that, while overall bullish, told clients to prepare for more muted returns. Individual investors, though, don’t seem to be listening, with sentiment indicators running strongly positive.