HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose Friday following a surge on Wall Street after unexpectedly weak US data tempered talk of an interest rate hike by summer.
Despite the easing rate expectations, the dollar maintained its strength against the euro after retreating from Thursday’s multi-year highs.
Tokyo surged 1.39 percent, or 263.14 points, to finish 19,254.25 while in late trade Hong Kong was up 0.16 percent and Shanghai gained 0.13 percent.
Seoul rose 0.77 percent, or 15.20 points, to close at 1,985.79 but Sydney lost 0.61 percent, or 35.7 points, to end at 5,814.5.
The broad gains across the region followed Thursday’s bargain hunting-filled advances and top off a tough week for global investors after last Friday’s strong US jobs report ratcheted up speculation about a Federal Reserve rate hike.
US markets, which by Wednesday had lost all their 2015 gains, surged on Thursday after data showed retail sales fell for the third straight month in February as severe winter weather gripped large parts of the country.
Retail and food services sales fell 0.6 percent from January, confounding forecasts of 0.4 percent growth.
The figures “provide the Fed with a well-rounded view of the prospects for the US economy and may prompt a desire to wait until fresh data is released which is not impacted by distortions,” Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Ltd, told Bloomberg News.
The Dow jumped 1.47 percent, the S&P 500 added 1.26 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.89 percent.
The Fed holds its latest policy meeting next week and dealers will be looking to see what it says about its plans for interest rates in light of the latest data.
On currency markets the dollar remained strong. It traded at 121.51 yen in Asia Friday, compared with 121.29 yen in New York.
The euro changed hands at $1.0571 compared with $1.0636, although it is still a little stronger than the levels below $1.05 touched Thursday, which was the lowest since 2003.
The single currency was also at 128.87 yen against 129.00 yen.
Oil prices rebounded in Asia after retreating Thursday in response to figures showing US stockpiles were at a record high, adding to worries about a global supply glut.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose 13 cents to $47.18 and Brent climbed 16 cents to $57.24.
Gold fetched $1,158.54 against $1,159.90 late Thursday.