It's Happy Friday Mode for Asia Traders as Stock Rally Lives On

(Bloomberg) -- Happy Friday indeed, with four major stock benchmarks across Asia gaining at least 1 percent at some point during the day.

Comments that the U.S.-China trade negotiations are “miles and miles” away from getting a resolution didn’t deter equity bulls, and regional stocks have shown some resilience to close out a third straight week of advances. The last time they saw a winning streak like this was in July.

Thanks to a tech rally, the benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed a second day, heading for its highest level since Dec. 4 as markets across the region including Tokyo, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan surged. U.S. index futures also edged higher.

It's Happy Friday Mode for Asia Traders as Stock Rally Lives On

The weekly gains in Asia contrast with the wider global benchmark MSCI All-Country World Index, which is on track for a 0.5 percent loss, its first in five weeks. As the earnings season continues apace, wider concerns remain about the health of the global economy amid ongoing trade talks, a record U.S. government shutdown and the latest developments on Brexit.

There were certainly some jitters in the U.S. session after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. and China were “miles and miles from getting a resolution” in an interview on CNBC on Thursday. In a later interview with Bloomberg TV, Ross said the two sides are eager to end their trade war, but the outcome will hinge on whether Beijing will deepen economic reforms and further open up its markets.

For now, Asia investors appear to be choosing to look on the bright side:

  • Chipmakers and technology stocks are helping drive gains across Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, picking up from a jump in their U.S. peers as Xilinx Inc. surged after posting third-quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates. Investors are so far shrugging off results from Intel Corp. that missed estimates. Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. gained 4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose for a third day, ahead of the one-year anniversary of its all-time high. Tech stocks are also winners there, with Tencent Holdings Ltd. leading the advance after winning new game approvals in China.
  • Singapore’s Straits Times Index is none the worse for wear, up 0.4 percent a day after investors were thrown for a loop by a brief $41 billion crash in Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd., the city’s largest stock.
MSCI Asia Pacific Index sector Move
Tech 2.5%
Communication Services 1.2%
Materials 1.1%
Energy 1.1%
Industrials 0.9%
Finance 0.8%
Consumer discretionary 0.6%
Consumer staples 0.4%
Utilities 0.2%
Health care -0.2%

Next week, once again, all eyes are on the high-level U.S.-China meeting. Tech will still be in focus as behemoths Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. are all scheduled to report earnings. Find out what else is coming here.

Stock-Market Summary

  • MSCI Asia Pacific Index up 1.2%
  • Japan’s Topix index up 0.9%; Nikkei 225 up 1%
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index up 1.7%; Hang Seng China Enterprises up 1.7%; Shanghai Composite up 0.4%; CSI 300 up 0.8%
  • Taiwan’s Taiex index up 0.9%
  • South Korea’s Kospi index up 1.5%; Kospi 200 up 1.8%
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7%; New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 little changed
  • India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index down 0.5%; NSE Nifty 50 down 0.7%
  • Singapore’s Straits Times Index up 0.4%; Malaysia’s KLCI up 0.4%; Philippine Stock Exchange Index down 0.1%; Jakarta Composite up 0.3%; Thailand’s SET up 0.1%; Vietnam’s VN Index little changed
  • S&P 500 e-mini futures up 0.6% after index closed up 0.1% in last session

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