Nikkei Leads Move Higher in Asia

Asian markets closed higher on Friday as markets digested better-than-expected China trade data and tracked the move higher in the U.S. dollar.

The Nikkei 225 gained 313.05 points, or 1.4%, to 22,811.08. Also providing support for the increase was the softer yen, which traded above the 113 level to the U.S. dollar. Automakers, tech names and trading houses recorded gains.

The Hang Seng Index leaped 336.66 points, or 1.2%, to 28,639.85

Japan's third-quarter Gross Domestic Product was revised upward to 2.5% from the preliminary estimate of 1.4%. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 0.6% from one quarter ago, compared to the 0.4% forecast. Following the release, the dollar fetched 113.44 yen, above Thursday's close of 113.07.

Greater China markets went higher in afternoon trade. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose as financial and most property stocks climbed.

Technology stocks led gains on the broader index, climbing 3.6%, with AAC Technologies up 5.1% at that time.

In Korea, gains in heavyweight tech names offset losses seen in automakers and manufacturing plays. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix closed up 2.5% and 3.6% respectively. Hyundai Motor fell 1.9% and steelmaker Posco slid 0.6% by the end of the session.

Samsung Heavy plunged 11.2% by the end of the day following a statement from the South Korean government about tackling corporates saddled with debt

Australian markets advanced, as energy-related plays rose on the back of oil prices mostly holding steady after gaining more than 1% overnight. Oil Search gained 0.1%. Beach Energy added 5.3% and Santos edged up 0.8% by the end of the day. Banks recorded gains while major miners closed mixed.

The Australian dollar was little changed after taking a hit following the release of poorer-than-expected trade data on Thursday. Late Friday afternoon local time, the Aussie dollar traded at $0.7507 U.S., after falling as low as $0.7498 earlier. The currency was little changed by expectation-topping China trade data.

HNA Group on Friday said it was not selling its assets "blindly.”Zhao Quan, the head of the company's tourism unit, also rejected concerns that the company was facing a "liquidity crisis.” Hong Kong-listed HNA Holding declined 1.5% while the company's mainland-listed units were narrowly mixed: Shares of Hainan Airline closed up 0.3% and HNA Investment was higher by 0.9%

LG Display said "nothing has been set in detail" regarding a deal which would see the South Korean company supply OLED panels to Apple. The panel maker added that it would make an announcement about any developments "in a month," according to local media. LG Display shares erased early gains to close down 0.8%.

Elsewhere, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said it would be investing approximately $20 billion U.S. in its latest planned plant. The new chip plant will reportedly be focused on three nanometer technology. TSMC shares finished the session 0.2% higher.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 regained 32.32 points, or 0.8%, to 4,003.38

Trade data released on Friday handily beat forecasts. Chinese exports in dollar terms increased 12.3% in November compared to one year ago, surpassing the 5% forecast by economists. Meanwhile, dollar-denominated imports for the month increased 17.7%, above the 11.3% rise projected.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index inched up 2.02 points, or 0.1%, to 2,464

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index restocked 42.86 points, or 0.4%, to 10,398.62

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index recovered 36.5 points, or 1.1%, to 3,424.64

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 62.49 points, or 0.8%, to 8,235.09

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 16.65 points, or 0.3%, to 5,994.37