Asian Shares Mixed As Investors Bet On BoJ Policy Shift

Asian stocks ended Friday’s session on a mixed note amid speculation that the Bank of Japan may end its negative interest rate policy as soon as this month.

Gold traded in a narrow range, while the dollar and Treasury yields were little changed as investors awaited U.S. jobs data later in the day for clues on the Fed’s rate trajectory.

Oil prices jumped around 2 percent in Asian trading after calls from Saudi Arabia and Russia for OPEC+ members to join output cuts.

Chinese shares edged up slightly as benchmark indexes approached key technical levels amid a relentless sell-off.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 2,969.56, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended marginally lower at 16,334.37 after a choppy session.

Japanese shares fell for a second straight session as the yen hit its strongest level versus the dollar in four months on hawkish comments from BoJ Governor Kazuo Ueda following discussions with the Japanese Prime Minister.

Japan’s third-quarter GDP was revised downward in a surprise move and a measure of the country’s household spending fell for an eighth month in a row in October, adding to the downbeat sentiment.

The Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 1.7 percent to 32,307.86, dragged down by exporters such as automakers. The broader Topix Index settled 1.5 percent lower at 2,324.47.

Seoul stocks rallied as tech stocks such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix soared amid renewed optimism on artificial intelligence. The Kospi climbed 1.0 percent to 2,517.85. Steel giant POSCO Holdings jumped 5.5 percent to 471,500 won.

Australian markets eked out modest gains as energy stocks advanced, more than offsetting declines in the banking and gold mining sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent to 7,194.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed up 0.3 percent at 7,405.60.

Oil and gas producer Santos surged 6.2 percent after confirming initial talks with larger rival Woodside Energy over a $53 billion merger.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index trimmed early losses to finish marginally lower at 11,495.64.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as weekly jobless claims ticked up modestly and tech shares such as Alphabet and AMD rallied on optimism about artificial intelligence.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.4 percent to reach its best closing level in over four months, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent and the Dow edged up 0.2 percent to snap a three-day losing streak.

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