Asian markets follow Wall St up but headed for annual loss

The dollar declined to 132.56 yen from Thursday's 132.90 yen. The euro edged lower to $1.0657 from $1.0677
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BEIJING: Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Friday following encouraging US employment data but were headed for double-digit losses for the year.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices edged higher.

Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index gained Thursday after the number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week despite repeated interest rate hikes to cool inflation by slowing economic activity.

''Considering the market news was sparse, the shift higher has the hallmarks of a dead cat bounce,'' said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 per cent to 3,092.50. The Chinese benchmark is on track to end 2022 down more than 14 per cent after the world's second-largest economy was depressed by anti-virus controls and a crackdown on corporate debt.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 per cent to 26,181.11. It is headed for an annual loss of almost 10 per cent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.8 per cent to 19,918.58. It is off more than 14 per cent this year.

Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.5 per cent higher at 7,056.60. India's Sensex opened up 0.4 per cent at 61,133.88. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets rose.

South Korean markets were closed for a holiday. The country's benchmark Kospi index is headed for a loss of more than 25 per cent for the year.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.7 per cent to 3,849.28. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1 per cent to 33,220.80. The Nasdaq composite added 2.6 per cent to 10,478.09. Each major U.S. index is headed for a loss in December. Companies in the S&P 500 took in record profits in 2022 but the index will end the year down about 20 per cent, which would be the benchmark's biggest annual decline since 2008.

Investors are uneasy about a string of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia to tame inflation that is at multi-decade highs. They worry central banks are willing to cause a recession if necessary.

The Fed's key lending rate stands at a range of 4.25 per cent to 4.5 per cent after seven increases this year. The US central bank forecasts that will reach a range of 5 per cent to 5.25 per cent by the end of 2023. Its forecast doesn't call for a rate cut before 2024.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 29 cents to $78.69 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 56 cents on Thursday to $78.40. Brent crude, used as the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 29 cents to $83.75 per barrel in London. It lost $1 in the previous session to $82.26 a barrel.

The dollar declined to 132.56 yen from Thursday's 132.90 yen. The euro edged lower to $1.0657 from $1.0677.

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