Most Asian indexes gained in Thursday trade, following a mixed close stateside as investors monitored potential fallout on President Donald Trump's policies after FBI Director James Comey was fired. Comey was dismissed by Trump yesterday reportedly to ...
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Most Asian indexes gained in Thursday trade, following a mixed close stateside as investors monitored potential fallout on President Donald Trump's policies after FBI Director James Comey was fired.
Comey was dismissed by Trump yesterday reportedly to increase public trust. The search for Comey's replacement is underway.
The Nikkei 225 edged up 0.22 percent while South Korea's benchmark Kospi index added 0.72 percent on Thursday. The ASX 200 was slightly higher, gaining 0.23 percent.
Markets in greater China were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.23 percent but mainland Chinese markets were lower. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.39 percent and the Shenzhen Composite sank 1.251 percent.
Markets in Indonesia are closed for a public holiday.
In the New Zealand, the central bank announced Thursday morning it stood pat on interest rates. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's comments on policy were regarded as dovish by the market.
The Kiwi traded lower against the dollar at $0.6838, compared to the $0.69 handle seen just ahead of the news.
Over in Asia, Japanese automaker Toyota forecast yesterday that profits for this year would fall by 20 percent due to slowing U.S. sales and increased marketing costs. Toyota shares were fell 1.13 percent.
Nevertheless, Nomura maintained a "Buy" call on the stock on the basis of Toyota's share buyback plans. The company had announced that it would buy back 1.65 percent of its shares.
"We expect the company to regain market share in the U.S. from around September 2017 ... (and) continue expanding market share in Europe on the back of its hybrid vehicles," Nomura Research Analyst Masataka Kunugimoto in a note.
Meanwhile, telecommunications giant SoftBank said annual profits increased by 13 percent on year but that it had incurred $2.2 billion in derivative losses. Shares of the company jumped 2.14 percent.
In Singapore, shares of commodities trading company Noble Group tumbled more than 20 percent after the company issued a profit warning. Noble will announce Q1 results after trading hours today. Shares of the company last traded 19.31 percent lower.
OCBC announced that it would be acquiring the private wealth business of National Australia Bank in Singapore and Hong Kong. Shares of NAB were up 0.81 percent and OCBC shares gained 0.86 percent.
"This is a very smart move because ... if you look at the Chinese community, wealth and asset management is going to be a bigger (and) more important industry. And we believe it's a good way to access the middle-class consumers in the China market," Noah Holdings CIO William Ma told CNBC.
Toshifumi Kitamura | AFP | Getty Images
Pedestrians on the crosswalk are reflected on a stock indicator at the window of a security company in Tokyo on March 31, 2017.
The dollar was softer against a basket of rivals, with the dollar index trading at 99.613 after four straight sessions of gains. The dollar/yen also edged lower, with the greenback fetching 114.16 compared to levels around 112 seen last week.
The Australian dollar eased against the dollar to trade at $0.7339, lower than the $0.74 handle seen last week.
Oil prices bounced more than 3 percent in the previous session after U.S. inventories recorded their largest one-week drop this year. U.S. West Texas International crude was up by 0.4 percent to trade at $47.52 a barrel while while Brent crude gained 0.38 percent to trade at $50.41.
In economic news, the Bank of England will announce its interest rate decision at 7:00 pm HK/SIN. The European Central Bank will also be releasing its economic bulletin during European hours.
U.S. equities closed mixed after shrugging off the dismissal of Comey. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.16 percent or 32.67 points to trade at 20,943.11. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched record closes. Shares of social media company Snap tumbled almost 24 percent after hours on news that the company had missed earnings projections.
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