|Asia mostly higher as Japan marches|
|Asian stock markets traded mostly higher Friday, with Japanese blue chips swinging to gains in the afternoon session.
The rise for the major markets came as Hong Kong and Seoul were closed for holidays, curbing trading volumes in bourses that were open.
The Nikkei 225 hiked 100.88 points, or 0.7%, to end the week at 15,138.12
Real-estate shares were a strong spot for the Tokyo market, as some major names rebounded from recent losses. Among them, Mitsui Fudosan Co. climbed 2.4%, Mitsubishi Estate Co. added 3.4%, and Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. rallied to finish 4.2% higher.
Among individual movers, Tokyo Electric Power Co., commonly known as Tepco, chalked up a 2.1% in choppy trade. Tepco shares have now tripled in value since the start of the year, though they remain well below their levels before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused a major disaster at the company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Also ending higher, Hitachi Ltd. added 3.2% to its share price after the conglomerate forecast earnings for the 2015-16 fiscal year that bested analyst expectations.
Shares of Renesas Electronics Corp. surged 15.9%. Late Thursday, Renesas said it was teaming with a Belgian research institute to develop communication technology featuring ultralow power consumption, according to Kyodo News.
On the downside in Japan, Sony Corp. dropped 1.7% after NPD Group data late Thursday showed April U.S. videogame-console sales plunging 42% from year-earlier levels as consumers awaited new devices from Sony and rivals Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo Co.
Shares of Nintendo finished 1.5% lower.
Some other tech majors saw weakness as well, with Pioneer Corp. falling 0.8%, Panasonic Corp. losing 0.7%, and Tokyo Electron Ltd. surrendering 2.5%, moving back near levels seen at the start of the week.
Over in Australia, senior miners BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. added 1.9% and 1.1%, respectively, after a 0.9% advance for July copper futures overnight.
Uranium extractor Paladin Energy Ltd. rose 4.4%, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. added 1.7%, though losses for gold futures helped drive shares of Newcrest Mining Ltd. to close 2.3% lower.
Also in Sydney, shares of Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. jumped 10.5% higher after a 17% crash in the previous session on the back of a profit warning. Helping boost the airline operator, both UBS and J.P. Morgan raised their ratings on the shares to buy and overweight, respectively.
However, a profit warning at energy firm WorleyParsons Ltd. sent that stock falling 12.5%.
Likewise, retail major Wesfarmers Ltd. warned of "disappointing" results at its Target stores, with its shares losing 2.9%. Target Australia is unrelated to the U.S. firm Target Corp., though it uses the latter’s "bullseye" logo.
On the Shanghai Stock Exchange, shares broke from rangebound trade in the afternoon
In Shanghai, the CSI 300 Index moved higher 39.34 points, or 1.5%, to 2,592.05
Strength in the property majors helped support the market, with Poly Real Estate Group Co. trading 2.7% higher and Gemdale Corp. up 3.4% in late-session action. Similarly, top mainland Chinese developer China Vanke Co. also saw its shares gain 2.4% on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
The advance for real-estate came ahead of April home-price data, due out Saturday. March saw a 3.6% gain in home prices for the 70 top cities surveyed in the data.
Also positive for the sector, some investors are expecting the Chinese government to loosen some of its restrictions on property sales by the end of the year, Dow Jones Newswires quoted a Guotai Junan Securities as saying.
In other markets;
Singapore’s Straits Times Index docked 2.98 points, or 0.1%, to 3,449.30
Taiwan’s Taiex Index erased 21.36 points, or 0.3%, to 8,368.19
The New Zealand Exchange 50 Gross Index gave back 38.19 points, or 0.8%, to 4,597.84
Australia’s S&P/ASX pointed upward 15.11 points, or 0.3%, to 5,180.77