Asian Markets Rise; Japan Notches up Seventh Day of Gains

Asian stocks ended the week on a high, with Japanese stocks posting the seventh consecutive session of gains despite a strengthening of the yen.

U.S. futures rose, with the Dow Jones mini up 0.26, the S&P 500 mini up 0.18% and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.24%.

The Nikkei 225 closed up 0.26% at 18,381.22 and the Topix closed up 0.31% at 1,464.53. Those indices were up 2.3% and 2.5% on the week, respectively.

Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF) and Nissan Motor  (NSANY) were among the lead gainers, despite a strengthening yen, which makes exports less competitive in overseas markets. Financial stocks including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial fell.

Earlier Friday, Japanese government statistics showed underlying inflation edged up to 0.1% in October from minus 0.5%, better than analysts' expectations for zero price growth. However, so-called core inflation came in at minus 0.4%, marking the eighth straight month of contraction. The Bank of Japan wants to get core inflation up to 2% and the lackluster result keeps a rate cut on the agenda.

The dollar fell 0.26% against the yen at ¥113.0300 and was down 0.18% against the Swiss franc.

The euro rose 0.42% against the dollar to $1.0598.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 0.53% to 22,728.81, with banks in that market among the main gainers.

On mainland China the CSI 300 composite index rose 0.93% to 3,521.30.

In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.41% at 5,507.79.

Macquarie Group closed down 1.4% and Australian & New Zealand Banking Group fell marginally after the banks were fined over rigging the Malaysian ringgit in action brought by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

BHP Billiton (BHP) rose 2.3%. The company set aside additional funding for repairs at its Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil with Vale and for compensation for those affected by the deadly collapse of a dam at the project last year.

Rio Tinto (RIO) was up 2.4%.

The Bloomberg commodity index was down 0.06% at 172.38.

Brent crude was recently down 1.06% at $48.48 a barrel.

Spot gold was up 0.50% at $1,187.58 an ounce.

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