‘Black Friday’ sales in US help Asia equities higher

Most equities markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on Monday, helped by healthy sales on “Black Friday” in the United States, the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season and the traditional day when retailers turn to profit for the year. The exception to gains in the region came on the Shanghai Composite, which dropped 1.46 percent to 4,958.85.

Elsewhere the gains were mostly at the 2 percent level or above. The Sensex added 2.09 percent to 19,247.54, while in Australia the Sydney Ordinaries gained 2.2 percent to 6,533.2 and the S&P/ASX200 was up 2.23 percent to 6,471.4. In Taiwan the Taiex index was 2.23 percent higher to 8,528.33. The Straits Times index gained 3.79 percent to 3,418.58 in Singapore while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng added over 1,000 points on the session, up 4.09 percent to 27,626.62. South Korea’s Kospi index jumped 4.65 percent to 1,855.33. In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 was up 1.66 percent to 15,135.21 and the Topix index was 2.06 percent higher to 1,467.03 while the Mothers market gained 0.67 percent to 809.57.

European markets were lower on Monday, largely on concerns that all the damage from the subprime crisis has not yet fully been revealed. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.57 percent to 1,467.73. The IBEX was 0.4 percent lower to 15,330.2 in Madrid while the Dax fell 0.55 percent to 7,567.36 and the CAC-40 dropped 1.14 percent to 5,458.39. In London, the FTSE 100 was down 1.3 percent to 6,180.5 and the FTSE 250 fell 0.74 percent to 10,452.9.

Wall Street declined in late afternoon trade on sell-offs after worries about the credit market trumped reports of strong retail sales on Black Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.02 percent lower at late afternoon to 12,848.79 while the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.44 percent to 2,559.79 and the S&P 500 had dropped 1.42 percent to 1,419.4.

Crude oil prices fell, while metals and grains prices were mixed.

Sterling strengthened while the yen remained near a two-year high in relation to the US dollar.

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