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Asia makes gains as oil takes a breather; Nikkei up 0.2%, Kospi rises 0.3% – CNBC

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Asian markets were in the money in early Friday trade after bond yields rose overnight and markets digested the second day of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.19 percent in early trade.

The Kospi advanced 0.32 percent to trade firmly above the 2,410 level, making gains for a second-straight day after closing at a record level in the last session.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.52 percent.

Yellen said Thursday that achieving President Donald Trump’s 3 percent growth target would be “challenging” due to reasons related to productivity growth.

Bond yields rose overnight. Yields of the 10-year U.S. Treasury were steady after rising to around 2.35 percent in the previous session. 10-year German Bund yields rose to 0.6 percent overnight following news on Thursday of the European Central Bank possibly adjusting its policy outlook.

On Wall Street, stocks closed slightly higher ahead of earnings season as the Dow Jones industrial average notched a record close.

Oil stumbled after settling higher overnight. Brent crude futures were off 0.08 percent at $48.38 a barrel and U.S. crude inched lower by 0.07 percent to trade at $46.05.

Oil prices had risen more than 1 percent in the previous session after China customs data showed strong demand from the world’s second-largest economy. This had offset higher levels of production noted in an International Energy Agency report.

In currencies, the dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, traded at 95.756 at 8:02 a.m. HK/SIN. The dollar edged up against the yen to trade at 113.35, higher than the 113.28 seen in the last session but still below levels around 113.9 seen earlier in the week.

The Australian dollar continued its upward trend after previously rising on the back of strong China trade data released Thursday. The Aussie dollar last traded at $0.7743, above the $0.76 handle seen earlier this week.

“A weak U.S. CPI print could push the pair into $0.78 and we start considering the implication of a potential break above the 2016 high of $0.7835,” IG Chief Market Strategist Chris Weston said in a note, citing “general ill-will” towards holding the dollar and outperformance of emerging markets as drivers of the Aussie dollar.

In individual stocks, shares of Korean automakers were in focus following headlines from Yonhap News that unionized Hyundai employees were taking a vote over a potential strike. Results of the strike will be known after the market close.

Hyundai shares were up 1.01 percent and Kia Motors rose 0.41 percent in early trade.

Taiwanese tech shares could be set for moves after chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) forecast a rise in revenues for the third quarter. Meanwhile, optical lens supplier Largan Precision reported a fall in quarterly net income, according to local media.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s economy grew 0.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter, below a forecast of 1.1 percent from a Reuters survey. The figure reflected a 2.5 percent rise on year, compared to the 2.8 percent expected, Reuters added.

The dollar inched higher against the Singapore dollar to trade at S$1.3742 at 8:15 a.m. HK/SIN following the news compared to levels around the S$1.3738 seen before.

Japan industrial production for May is due later in the session.

Ahead, U.S. June CPI and retails sales data are expected during U.S. trading hours.

Asia makes gains as oil takes a breather; Nikkei up 0.2%, Kospi rises 0.3% – CNBC}

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