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Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend




Asian stock markets are mixed on Monday despite the record highs on Wall Street Friday, with the focus now turning to the release of corporate earnings results this week. Nevertheless, upbeat economic data from China and the U.S. last week has boosted investor sentiment.


The Australian market is extending its winning streak to a fifth straight session.


The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 25.40 points or 0.36 percent to 7,089.50, off a record high of 7,092.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 26.70 points or 0.37 percent to 7,207.00. Australian stocks hit fresh record highs for the fourth straight day on Friday.


Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 3 percent, while Rio Tinto and BHP are advancing more than 1 percent each.


The big four banks - Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank - are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent.


Oil stocks are also gaining despite crude oil prices ending flat on Friday. Santos is higher by 1 percent, Oil Search is rising 0.5 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.4 percent.


In the tech sector, Appen is higher by almost 3 percent and Xero is up 0.6 percent, while Wisetech Global is lower by 0.2 percent.


Gold miners are mixed even as gold prices rose on Friday. Newcrest Mining is advancing almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent.


Kogan.com reported 16 percent growth in gross sales and a 9 percent increase in gross profit for the first half of the year, compared to the year-ago period. The online retailer's shares are losing more than 16 percent.


In the currency market, the Australian dollar was quoted at $0.6800 on Monday.


The Japanese market is modestly higher following the record closing highs on Wall Street Friday.


The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 34.00 points or 0.14 percent to 24,075.26, after touching a high of 24,105.34 in early trades. Japanese stocks closed higher on Friday.


Market heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp. is edging up 0.1 percent, while Fast Retailing is lower by more than 1 percent.


Among tech stocks, Advantest is higher by 0.7 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding 0.2 percent.


The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent and Panasonic is down 0.3 percent, while Sony is adding almost 1 percent and Canon is rising 0.4 percent.


Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is advancing almost 1 percent and Honda Motor is adding 0.4 percent.


In the oil sector, Inpex is higher by 0.5 percent, while Japan Petroleum is declining 0.2 percent after crude oil prices ended flat on Friday.


Among the other major gainers, Cyberagent is rising more than 3 percent and Shinsei Bank is higher by more than 2 percent.


On the flip side, Sapporo Holdings is losing almost 3 percent and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings is lower by more than 2 percent.


In economic news, Japan will see final November numbers for industrial production today.


In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 110 yen-range on Monday.


Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, South Korea and Taiwan are also higher, while New Zealand and Indonesia are declining. Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong are all edging lower.


On Wall Street, stocks gained modestly, but still closed at record highs on Friday after data showed that China's economy grew at the slowest pace since 1990, yet matched economist estimates. More upbeat U.S. economic data also generated buying interest, with a report from the Commerce Department showing a substantial increase in U.S. housing starts in the month of December.


The Dow edged up 50.46 points or 0.2 percent to 29,348.10, the Nasdaq rose 31.81 points or 0.3 percent to 9,388.94 and the S&P 500 climbed 12.81 points or 0.4 percent to 3,329.62.


The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.7 percent.


Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and settled near the flat line on Friday, as traders weighed demand and supply position in the oil market. WTI crude futures ended at $58.54 a barrel, edging up $0.02 for the session.