Most Asian stocks advanced on Friday as investors awaited a US jobs report for clues on the US Federal Reserve’s policy-tightening path ahead of a long weekend in the US.
Equities rose in Tokyo and Sydney after the MSCI Asia Pacific Index completed its eighth straight month of gains and nudged closer to its highest in almost a decade.
The index on Friday climbed 0.1 percent to 161.16, up 0.4 percent for the week.
Energy stocks on the regional gauge were among the biggest gainers as a group.
Japan’s benchmark bond yield fell below zero percent for the first time since November last year. Australian bond yields fell with those on US Treasuries.
Asian equities advanced for a third week as investors shrugged off geopolitical concerns after North Korea lobbed a missile over Japan.
Risk appetite returned as diplomatic efforts to contain the country’s nuclear program continue.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Friday closed up 9.04 points, or 0.09 percent, at 10,594.82, up 0.8 percent from last week’s 10,515.51.
Hong Kong stocks took a breather on Friday to hover around more than two-year highs, fueled by robust earnings, strong Chinese factory growth and hopes of more economic reforms from Beijing.
Both the Hang Seng Index and the China Enterprises Index (HSCE) fell 0.1 percent, to 27,953.16 points and 11,285.55 points, respectively.
The Hang Seng gained 2.4 percent last month, while the HSCE, which tracks Chinese firms, rose 4.3 percent.
The Hong Kong market has climbed for eight months in a row, encouraged largely by stronger-than-expected economic growth in China, which is producing generally healthier corporate balance sheets.
In Japan, TOPIX on Friday rose 0.1 percent while South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.2 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.2 percent.
Additional reporting by CNA and Reuters
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