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Asia report: Most markets higher as oil prices rise further

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 22 Nov 2017

Asia report: Most markets higher as oil prices rise further

(ShareCast News) - Markets in Asia were mostly higher on Wednesday, with Hong Kong's benchmark breaking through the 30,000 level, following a strong session on Wall Street overnight.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was ahead 0.48% at 22,523.15, as the yen gained 0.28% on the dollar to last trade at JPY 112.14.

The country's major exporters were mostly higher, with Honda up 0.38%, Sony ahead 1.34% and Toyota 0.73% firmer.

Energy stocks were also higher as oil prices remained on the agenda, with Inpex up 1.48% and Japan Petroleum rising 2.53%.

Technology company TDK surged 5.9% after reports it was introducing a solid-state battery - a significant advancement in battery technology as digital devices demand more and longer-lasting power.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.59% at 3,430.55, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite went against the regional trend to fall 026% to 1,982.28.

South Korea's Kospi closed 0.39% firmer at 2,540.51, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong added 0.62% to 30,003.49.

"Markets have remained mostly range-bound ahead of Thanksgiving holidays, although there was a small easing in the dollar on a broad basis," noted Mizuho Bank currency strategist Wei Liang Chang of the day's positive sentiment.

Oil prices were still in focus ahead of the upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna, where producing members were set to decide whether to extend the current production ceiling beyond March next year.

Brent crude was last up 0.92% at $63.15 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate rose 1.68% to $57.80.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.38% at 5,986.41, with the energy and materials subindices rising 1.22% and 0.81% respectively.

The hefty financials sector rose 0.18%, even as three of the country's 'big four' banks saw their share prices fall.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was off 0.31%, National Australia Bank slipped 0.27% and Westpac Banking Corporation lost 0.41%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia managed to gain 0.58%.

Energy plays were mostly higher in the sunburnt country on the back of oil prices, with Oil Search ahead 1.26%, Santos rising 1.18% and Woodside Petroleum adding 1.49%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was up 0.2% at 8,104.99, led higher by dairy product and infant food exporter A2 Milk for the second session in a row, which was up 5.2%.

Transport firms were also on the top side of the board, with Port of Tauranga ahead 4.1% and flag carrier Air New Zealand gaining 2.1%.

The down under dollars were both slightly weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.13% at AUD 1.3213 and the Kiwi retreating just 0.01% to NZD 1.4644.

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