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Asia Markets
Japan Shares Rise, Follow U.S. Lead
From the Wall Street Journal of Thu, 11 Dec 2014 23:00:42 EST

Japan stocks got a boost from a stronger dollar, but Australia stayed nearly flat after oil prices fell to their lowest levels in five years.

The Nikkei Stock Average was up 1.3% to 17474.90, as the U.S. dollar rose to ¥118.93 from ¥118.65 late Thursday in New York.

The gains in Japan also came after U.S. stocks moved higher Thursday with the help of better-than-expected data on U.S. consumer spending.

“The recent three-day selloff put stocks back in ‘affordable’ territory after valuations had started to look stretched,” said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities. “There remains plenty of technical resistance at the 18000 Nikkei level, but forthcoming data, including U.S. [December] consumer sentiment [and] next week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, will be critical to determining market direction.”

While Sunday’s lower house parliamentary election results in Japan will be closely watched, no major changes affecting markets are expected, with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition seen keeping its grip on power, added Mr. Nishi.

An extended slide in oil continued to batter energy stocks. The benchmark U.S. oil price fell below $60 a barrel overnight, its lowest level since July 2009, and was last at $59.12.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200, where major oil producers trade, was down 0.1% at 5225.60

Bargain hunters in energy stocks are cautious about trying to “catch a falling knife,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. More broadly, caution is likely ahead of Chinese industrial production figures, he added. The data is expected later this afternoon.

Elsewhere, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.1% to 23342.88 and the Shanghai Composite Index traded flat at 2925.64.

Write to Chao Deng at Chao.Deng@wsj.com and Bradford Frischkorn at bradford.frischkorn@wsj.com



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