Chinese stocks end lower after touching five-year high
China’s main share index finished the day lower after hitting its highest level in more than five years during a volatile trading day.
The Shanghai Composite closed down 0.2% at 3,285.41 after jumping as much as 3% earlier on speculation of more monetary easing by the central bank.
Data on Friday showed China’s inflation rate was 1.5% in December, remaining near a five-year low.
The figure was up from November’s 1.4%, but below the official target of 3.5%.
The inflation figure supports other recent data that indicates continued weakness in the Chinese economy, and analysts said that may give the government room to introduce fresh policies aimed at supporting economic growth.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed up for the third consecutive day, rising 0.4% to 23,919.95.
Eye on jobs data
The rest of Asian markets were boosted on expectations of positive US jobs data due out later in the day.
Analysts are expecting the latest data to show US non-farm payrolls increased by 240,000 last month.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.18% at 17.197.73.
Shares in Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing rose 0.8% after the firm’s first quarter results beat expectations, with profit rising 64% to 68.8bn yen.
In Australia’s share market, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 1.6% at 5,465.57, with investors’ confidence boosted by gains in the US and steadying oil prices.
Figures out on Friday showed Australia’s retail sales in November were up 0.1% from a month earlier – slightly down on most expectations.
But analysts said that while the numbers were on the weaker side, the market was expecting stronger results for December because of Christmas shopping.
In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi closed up 1.05% at 1,924.70.
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