World Economy

Asian Shares Mixed, Nikkei Record Continues

Asian Shares Mixed, Nikkei Record ContinuesAsian Shares Mixed, Nikkei Record Continues

Asian markets ended mixed on Friday, but shares in Japan continued their recent strong run.

The Nikkei hit 17,520 - its highest intraday level since July 2007 - before closing at 17,490.83, BBC said in a report.

The dollar hit a new seven-year high against the yen at 116.29 on continued speculation that Japan’s prime minister will call a snap election next month and delay the sales tax rise.

Shares of Takata were down 0.5%, making its fall for the year almost 60%.

The renewed pressure came after the auto parts maker said it was under a criminal investigation in the US over its airbags, which have been linked to five deaths.

Hong Kong shares posted modest gains. The benchmark Hang Seng Index inched up 0.28% to close at 24,087.38.

In the mainland the Shanghai Composite closed down 0.27%, or 6.79 points, at 2,478.82 points.

Australian shares ended a four-day losing streak on Friday helped by gains in banks. ANZ rose 0.9% while Commonwealth Bank gained 0.6%.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.2% at 5,454.3, but energy stocks weighed on the market, dragged lower by falling oil prices.

The price of Brent crude oil lost 4.4% on Thursday to $77.52 a barrel, its lowest level for four years. US crude also fell to a four-year low.

South Korean shares closed down 0.8%, with the Kospi at 1,945.14, after data showed that exports in October rose 2.3%, slightly lower than a provisional 2.5% rise reported earlier.

Trading direction for next week will be largely determined by what comes out of the G20 summit taking place in Brisbane, Australia at the weekend.

Meanwhile, European stocks were flat on Friday after gross domestic product numbers showed both France and Germany grew marginally in the third quarter, while the dollar rose further against the yen on expectations of a snap election in Japan.

The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.2429, inching back towards a two-year low of $1.2358 struck on Friday.

The European data confirmed that the outlook for much of the world economy still looks much shakier than for the US, although France beat expectations.

“The German number is slightly positive - in line with expectations, but it’s still soft,” said Patrick Jacq, a rate strategist at BNP Paribas in Paris.

“The (French) growth in Q3 is only driven by inventories. It’s just a one-off positive figure in a very weak environment and therefore this is not something which could lead the market to think that the economic situation is improving in France.”