Asia Markets

Asia markets broadly higher as shares of Apple suppliers jump

Key Points
  • Major Asian markets were mostly in positive territory on Friday.
  • Apple suppliers in Asia soared after shares of the tech giant jumped 2.1% to a record high overnight, on the back of news that iPhone sales in China rose more than 18% in December.
  • Ahead of Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections set to take place on Saturday, the Taiex traded up 0.45% to close at 12,024.65.

Major Asian markets were mostly in positive territory on Friday afternoon following the easing of U.S.-Iran tensions, and after U.S. stocks shot to new highs overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.47% to close at 23,850.57, while the Topix was up 0.35% to 1,735.16.

A day before, retail giant Fast Retailing cut its full-year outlook after worse-than-expected quarterly results, which it pinned on protests in Hong Kong and a boycott by South Korean consumers which hit sales at its Uniqlo retail stores. Shares of the company closed down 2.78% on Friday.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi jumped 0.91% to close at 2,206.39.

Ahead of Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections set to take place on Saturday, the Taiex traded up 0.45% to close at 12,024.65.

Citing the last five elections as a benchmark, Toby Wu, senior analyst at brokerage eToro, said that global economic factors have a bigger influence on Taiwan's stock market.

"We can expect the stock market to experience a period of general rise after the elections. The global economy is expected to improve in 2020 and with Taiwan's economy, which is based on internal investment, producing positive results in 2019, we can expect to see Taiwan maintaining good growth after the elections," he wrote in a note on Friday.

Mainland Chinese markets bucked the upward trend. The Shanghai composite inched down to close at 3,092.29, while the Shenzhen composite fell 0.18% to 1,797.35 and the Shenzhen component dropped 0.17% to 10,879.84.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, however, climbed 0.19% in its final hour of trade.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.48%.

Apple suppliers

Apple suppliers in Asia were closely monitored after the tech giant's shares jumped 2.1% to a record high. That was on the back of news that iPhone sales in China rose more than 18% in December, according to Chinese government data.

In Japan, Sharp pared gains to rise 0.93% after surging around 2% in the morning, and Alps Alpine was up 1.11%, and Murata rose 1.07%. South Korea's LG Display was nearly 1%. Samsung Electronics hit a new record high in intra-day trade, rising 1.54% by the close.

Over in Hong Kong, Sunny Optical bounced 1.21%. Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry surged 1.90%, and Largan Precision soared 4.11%.

Australia fires

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was higher by 0.80% to close at 6,929.00. Gold miners, however, sold off. Losses were led by Evolution Mining, which tumbled more than 6%. Newcrest Mining was down 1.44%, while Kingsgate Consolidated fell 2.22%.

The rally in gold prices had pulled back following the declining risk of a wider war in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Australia's retail sales data for November surpassed expectations, jumping 0.9% — the largest rise since last February, according to a Reuters report. A Reuters poll had forecast a 0.4% gain.

In corporate news, as bushfires continue to take a toll on the country, Australian insurer Suncorp said its bushfire-related claims since September have hit 345 million Australian dollars ($237 million), Reuters reported. Shares of the insurer closed up 0.61%.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, continued to strengthen, building on gains through the week. It was last at 97.412.

The safe-haven Japanese yen traded at 109.56 versus the greenback, pulling back after strengthening earlier in the week.

The Australian dollar was at around $0.6877, continuing its slide through the week.

Oil prices on Thursday slipped to levels near prices before U.S.-Iran tensions shot up.

During the afternoon of Asia hours on Friday, prices continued falling. U.S. crude futures dropped 0.15% to $59.46 per barrel, and Brent crude was down 0.12% to $65.30 per barrel.