ITALY STOCK EXCHANGE
Italy's stock exchange led European shares higher on Friday as investors reacted positively to Rome's likely new prime minister, while signs of economic expansion in Germany and France gave a further fillip. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended up 0.5 percent at 1,332.30 points to mark its 7th increase in 8ht sessions, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced by 0.7 percent to 3,119.06 points.
SOUTH AFRICAN STOCK EXCHANGE
South African stocks rallied on Friday after stumbling in the last session, with the Gold Mining Index leaping over 5 percent as bullion's spot price raced to 3-month highs above $1,300 an ounce. Gold Fields lead the rush into producers of the past metal, soaring 8.5 percent higher to 44.42 rand after losing over 5 percent in the last session after it proclaimed a $672 million write-down and delays in its South Deep mine project. Other mining firms also gained, with Impala Platinum adding 2.60 percent to 123.90 rand despite a 3-week strike over wages against it and rivals Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin that explains no signs of closing. Domestic mining gains came in the face of a 1.0 percent gain in the rand currency, which is often pessimistic for domestic resource firms which sell their commodities in dollars.
But the increasing gold price and a weaker dollar also point to investor appetite in riskier assets increasing, which could bring Johannesburg stocks back to life highs. The Top-40 index closed 0.87 percent higher at 41,482.39, less than 1,200 points shy of its record peak scaled previous month. The All-share ended 0.82 percent higher at 46,628.74, also within striking distance of its all-time high.
TOKYO STOCK EXCHANGE
Tokyo stocks closed 1.53 percent lower on Friday, giving up early gains as the yen strengthened on the back of poor US retail sales data. The benchmark Nikkei-225 index shed 221.71 points at 14,313.03. It slid 1.03 percent last week, falling for the sixth straight week since the start of the year. The Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 1.33 percent, or 15.92 points, to 1,183.82.
KARACHI STOCK EXCHANGE
Karachi Stock Exchange on Friday recorded another negative session because of worsening law and order situation in Karachi, Kamal Hayder, research analyst-PAGE said. The KSE-100 index lost 147 points to end at 26,394 points against 26,541 points on Thursday. During the intraday trading, the 100-index reached 26,617 highest and 26,371 lowest levels. The trading side ended on a bearish note at 202.546 million shares against 276.139 million shares.
The market capitalization also recorded a falling trend settling at Rs 6.432 against Rs 6.456 trillion. He said investors booked profits amid dismal payouts despite strong corporate earnings by Nishat mills and Engro. Trade remained chiefly in 2nd and 3rd-tier stocks amid concerns for security in the city, delays in privatization of SOEs, dismal economic figure and circular debt woes in power sector despite speculations in select stocks in banking sector after main acquisitions. Overall, 385 firms were marked active on the ready board. Some 90 scrips registered gains while 275 lost their worth, 20 remained unchanged. Of the top 10 volume leaders, Bank of Punjab (R) led the tally with 29 million shares. It lost one paisa to end at Rs 2.01; Engro Fertilizer declined by Rs 2.55 to end at Rs 55.35 on 17 million shares; and Jahangir Siddiqui Company shed 22 paisa to end at Rs 12.69 on 12 million shares, respectively.
HONG KONG STOCK EXCHANGE
Hong Kong shares ended 0.60 percent stronger on Friday, in line with regional markets which tracked gains on Wall Street that came despite disappointing economic figure. The benchmark Hang Seng Index increased 132.88 points to 22,298.41, on turnover of HK$55.68 billion, in a strong finish to a week that saw the biggest gains for blue-chip stocks since September.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK EXCHANGE
Southeast Asian stocks exchange edged higher on Friday, tracking strong Asian shares, with Indonesia eking out small gains on the back of a stronger rupiah. Asian shares increased on Friday while the US dollar struggled to regain traction after downbeat US economic data pushed it to a nearly 3-week low against the euro. Both Indonesian and Vietnamese index inched up 0.36 percent, each. Jakarta Composite Index ended at 4,508, boosted by property sector which closed up 1.2 percent. Real estate developers Sentul City and Lippo Cikarang increased more than 3 percent each.
The Indonesian rupiah hit a near 11 weeks high on Friday, leading gains among emerging Asian currencies, as investors snapped up the country's bonds after its present account deficit narrowed sharply in the 4th quarter. Vietnam's index closed at 572.22 on Friday, the highest since October 2009, led by bluechips such as gas producer PetroVietNam Gas, lender BIDV and dairy product maker Vinamilk. The Philippine and Malaysian indexes were up more than 0.12 percent each, while Singapore stocks were flat. The Thai bourse is ended for a public holiday.
SEOUL STOCK EXCHANGE
Seoul shares increased to their highest end this month on Friday, as improved risk sentiment encouraged investors to pick up heavyweights such as Hyundai Motor. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 0.7 percent at 1,940.28 points, its highest end since January 29. The key index increased 0.9 percent last week, nearly recovering the previous week’s entire 1 percent decline. Turnover was lower than usual with 3.158 trillion won ($3 billion) compared to a 5-day average of 3.552 trillion won. Stocks that advanced outnumbered losers by almost 2 to 1. Automaker Hyundai Motor Co, which shed a combined 3 percent the 3 last days, added 2.4 percent. State-run power company Korea Gas Corp jumped 4.7 percent on an upbeat October-December quarter earnings statement.
MUMBAI STOCK EXCHANGE
Indian shares closed higher on Friday, led by telecom services providers and software firms ahead of the interim budget where Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has a tough task of wooing voters while keeping fiscal discipline. The central bank of India, however, slumped after the country's biggest lender reported a 4th straight consecutive drop in quarterly net income, dragging other lenders down.
LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE
Basic materials shares helped Britain's top equity index to a 2nd straight weekly gain on Friday, offsetting a decline in bottling firm Coca Cola Hellenic following its results. The index was up 1.4 percent for the week, rallying from 6-week lows at the starting of February. It climbed above its 50-day moving average on Thursday, a technical signal which advised underlying support from buyers.
AUSTRALIAN STOCK EXCHANGE
Australian shares climbed 0.9 percent to near 6-week highs on Friday, spurred by solid earnings from index-heavyweight Rio Tinto and a 5th increase in 6-session for Wall Street stocks. The S and P/ASX 200 index added 48.2 points to 5,356.3. The benchmark registered a 3.7 percent increase for the week, snapping 5-consecutive weeks of losses and marking its biggest weekly increase since December 2011. Rio Tinto Ltd gave investors an unexpected gift, delivering a 15 percent hike in dividend after reporting a huge jump in 2nd-half profit on Thursday, putting it in a strong position for a big capital return in 2015. Rio increased 0.9 percent and BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 1.2 percent, while PanAust Ltd jumped 3.3 percent. The market is on course to post a 3.2 percent increase for the week, snapping 5-consecutive weeks of losses and marking its biggest weekly increase since December 2011.