LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) - Australian equities fell in early trading Friday, with losses in some resource stocks weighing on the benchmark index. The S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.2%. Mining shares were mixed following a pullback in metals prices on U.S. dollar strength . Newcrest Mining Ltd. fell 1.5% and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. rose 0.3% and Rio Tinto Ltd. swung 0.1% higher. The company held its annual general meeting on Thursday. Financials were mixed, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group down 0.4%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia picked up 0.8%. In the currency market, the Australian dollar neared parity against the U.S. dollar overnight as the dollar jumped against major rivals after an upbeat reading on U.S. weekly jobless claims. The Aussie on Friday bought $1.0075 versus $1.0066. The S&P/ASX 200 was on track for a gain of about 1.3% for the week, during which Australia's central bank cut its key interest rate by a quarter-percentage point to 2.75%.
Australia shares slip, but aim for weekly gain
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Japanese stocks spiraled higher Friday after the U.S. dollar climbed atop the 100-yen level for the first time in four years, stoking sharp gains in exporters. The Nikkei Stock Average rose 2.5% to 14,546.73 and the broader Topix gained 2.2% to 1,207.67. Shares of a number of exporters, including Mazda Motor Corp. , Nissan Motor Co. , Fanuc Corp. , Panasonic Corp. , Komatsu Ltd. and Trend Micro Inc. climbed 3% or more. Sony Corp. jumped 3.9% a day after it posted its first annual profit in five years. Suzuki Motor Corp. gained 4.3% after it reported a record profit for the last financial year. 8:13 p.m. Today
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