Top Stories
Top Stories
Asia Markets

Shanghai stocks jump almost 2 percent; Aussie coal mining stocks hit

Key Points
  • Most major Asian stock markets advanced.
  • The Australian dollar traded at $0.7113 after moving wildly in the previous session, dropping from levels above $0.720.
  • Shares of Australia's coal miners fell after a Reuters report that China was banning imports of Australian coal in the northern port of Dalian.

Shares in mainland China gained the most on the final day of the trading week, among major Asian stock markets.

The Shanghai composite rose 1.91 percent to close at 2,804.23 while the Shenzhen component gained 2.36 percent to finish its trading day at 8,651.20. Then Shenzhen composite advanced 2.278 percent to close at 1,477.25.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was more than 0.3 percent higher in its final hour of trading.

South Korea's Kospi closed fractionally higher at 2,230.50, as heavyweight Samsung Electronics saw its stock advance 0.43 percent.

In Australia, the gained 0.46 percent to close at 6,167.30, with most sectors rising.

Over in Japan, however, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.18 percent to finish at 21,425.51 while the Topix fell 0.25 percent to close at 1,609.52 as shares of convenience store operator FamilyMart Uny fell 0.95 percent.

Australian dollar stages partial comeback

The Australian dollar traded at $0.7113 after moving wildly in the previous session, dropping from levels above $0.720.

According to Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, "what really killed" the rally in the Australian dollar yesterday was a Reuters report that China was banning the import of Australian coal in the northern port of Dalian.

"Not only is this a big hit (2% of all Australian coal imports are destined for Dalian) for the industry but China is also getting tough on Australia after they banned Huawei from their 5G network last year," Lien said.

Following the report, shares of Australian coal miners mostly sold off on Friday. New Hope Corporation dropped 3.55 percent, Yancoal Australia declined 2.8 percent and mining giant BHP Billiton slipped 0.42 percent. Whitehaven Coal, on the other hand, recovered from an earlier slip to rise 0.66 percent.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Weak US economic data

In overnight market action stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 103.81 points to close at 25,850.63 while the shed 0.35 percent to finish its trading day at 2,774.88. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.4 percent to close at 7,459.71.

The declines on Wall Street came on the back of the release of a stream of disappointing U.S. economic data on Thursday.

Meanwhile, officials from China and the U.S. met again in Washington on Thursday. Reports on Thursday said Washington and Beijing have begun drawing up memorandums of understanding over trade.

"I think the more important question to ask is, will ... Beijing absolutely be willing to make real significant, structural and painful reforms on these key areas that for so long they've been dragging their feet on," Jude Blanchette, senior advisor and China practice lead at Crumpton Group, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. He added that such a move would result in "pretty significant structural dislocations in China's economy as it transitions."

The two economic powerhouses are attempting to strike a deal before a March 1 deadline, when additional tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S. will go into effect. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has said in recent days it was not a "magical date," raising speculation over the possibility of the deadline being extended.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.555 after seeing lows below 96.4 yesterday.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 110.72 against the dollar after touching an earlier high of 110.61.

Oil prices made a turnaround from their earlier slip to see gains in the afternoon of Asian trade, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract adding 0.1 percent to $67.14 per barrel. The U.S. crude futures contract also rose 0.23 percent to $57.09 per barrel.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Patti Domm contributed to this report.