Asian stocks mostly up, US dollar edges lower
Most Asian markets advanced Friday on a healthy batch of economic growth data out of the United States but Shanghai sank again, extending the previous day's selloff.
The dollar ticked up, with analysts tipping further gains on expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate rise as soon as September.
Tokyo reversed morning losses to end 0.30 percent higher, adding 62.41 points to 20,585.24, while Sydney was up 0.52 percent, or 29.68 points, at 5,699.2 and Seoul gained 0.55 percent, or 11.13 points, to 2,030.16.
Hong Kong was 0.56 percent higher, adding 138.30 points to 24,636.28, while Shanghai ended down 1.13 percent, or 42.04 points, at 3,663.73 as it struggles to recover from a recent plunge.
Confidence was given a shot in the arm by a report from the U.S. Commerce Department Thursday that said the world's top economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the April-June period, the strongest growth since the third quarter of 2014.
And while the figure was a little below expectations, the department also revised up its estimate on the first quarter of the year — which was hit by severe winter weather — to growth of 0.6 percent, from a 0.2 percent contraction.
However, on Wall Street the Dow and S&P 500 were marginally lower while the Nasdaq rose 0.35 percent.
The news increased the likelihood the Fed will lift rates sooner rather than later.
The internal affairs ministry of Japan said household spending fell 2 percent year-on-year in June against market expectations for an increase after a rise of 4.8 percent in May.
Core inflation, excluding volatile fresh food prices, was up 0.1 percent, well short of the Bank of Japan's 2-percent target.
Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities, said: "I can't see when the BOJ will be able reach the 2-percent inflation target at all.
"It appears to be a matter
of time before the BOJ adds monetary stimulus."
Shanghai stocks continue to be buffeted as government measures at the start of the month to contain a plunge were unable to prevent another round of fierce selling this week.
The benchmark index slumped more than 30 percent between June 12 and July 8, when Beijing unveiled a series of strict measures to avert a meltdown, which prompted a slight recovery.
However, a below- forecast manufacturing reading last Friday sparked another round of panic — sending shares collapsing 8.48 percent Monday — among mainland investors. The market is now down 14 percent over the month.
On Friday China's two stock exchanges put trading limits on more than 20 accounts as the market regulator announced a crackdown on computerized "program trading," which it blamed for the recent volatility.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission said it was investigating institutions and individuals for program trading, which had amplified "big fluctuations" on the stock market, according to a statement on its website.
Gold fetched US$1,080.88 an ounce compared with US$1,086.80 late Thursday. In other markets: — Mumbai rose 1.48 percent, or 409.21 points, to end at 28,114.56.
State Bank of India rose 5.25 percent to 270.40 rupees, while Bharat Heavy Electricals fell 2.84 percent to 278.70 rupees.
— Jakarta ended up 1.91 percent, or 90.04 points, at 4,802.53.
Bank Rakyat Indonesia gained 6.95 percent to 10,000 rupiah, while nickel miner Vale Indonesia fell 6.00 percent to 1,960 rupiah.
— Bangkok rose 1.60 percent, or 22.63 points, to 1,440.12.
Siam Commercial Bank gained 3.40 percent to 152.00 baht, while oil company PTT added 2.84 percent to 326.00 baht.
— Singapore fell 1.45 percent, or 47.02 points, to close at 3,202.50.
Singapore Airlines closed 1.29 percent lower at SG$10.74 and property firm City Developments tumbled 1.37 percent to SG$9.33.
— Kuala Lumpur's main index rose 1.37 percent, or 23.22 points, to close the day on 1,723.14.
Hong Leong Financial Group added 3.52 percent to close at 15.86 ringgit and British American Tobacco rose 2.27 percent to 67.50 ringgit.
— Wellington rose 0.49 percent, or 29.11 points, to 5,920.96.
Chorus was up 0.35 percent at NZ$2.87 and Fletcher Building gained 0.25 percent to NZ$7.92.
— Manila gained 0.53 percent, or 39.61 points, to 7,550.00.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone slipped 0.96 percent to 2,886.00 pesos, Metrobank eased 0.73 percent to 88.35 pesos and Ayala Land was up 0.54 percent to 37.40 pesos.