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Japan Misses Spending Estimates, Asia Mixed

Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed on Friday as investors looked at economic data from China and digested Japan’s household spending numbers, with markets also assessing the European Central Bank’s rate cut.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index doffed 19.58 points, or 0.1%, to 38,683.93.

Japan released its household spending figures for April — a key metric to assess if the Bank of Japan’s expected “virtuous cycle” of rising wages and prices was underway.

The average monthly consumption expenditures per household for April was 313,300 yen, up 3.4% in nominal terms and up 0.5% in real terms. This marked the first rise in real household spending since February 2023.

April pay is key to watch as wage hikes commonly take effect during this month, which marks the beginning of Japanese companies’ financial years.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 109.85 points, or 0.6%, to 18,366.95. This marked three straight days of losses for the mainland index.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dipped 18.14 points, or 0.5%, to 3,574.11.

China’s May exports beat expectations, climbing 7.6% against the 6% expected by a Reuters poll of economists and vastly higher than the 1.5% rise seen in April. Imports climbed 1.8% year on year, missing the 4.2% expected in a Reuters poll.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index inched down 0.04 points to 3,330.77.

In Korea, the Kospi index returned to trading after Thursday's holiday, gaining 33.17 points, or 1.2%, to 2,722.67

In Taiwan, the Taiex index dropped 44.32 points, or 0.2%, to 21,858.38.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 retreated 116.45 points, or 1%, to 11,856.56.

In Australia, the ASX 200 advanced 38.26 points, or 0.5%, to 7,860.02.