Asia markets mixed as Fed concerns persist – CNBC

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But that was well off session lows as oil got a sentiment boost after the weekly oil rig count, released Thursday due to the Good Friday holiday, showed a drop of 15 oil rigs.

Asian energy plays were mixed, with Inpex up 1.06 percent, Fuji Oil higher by 1.23 percent and Japan Petroleum losing 2.42 percent. Mainland Chinese oil plays were mostly lower, with Sinopec off 1.98 percent.

On the currency front, the rig count data likely boosted the Australian dollar, according to Stephen Innes, a senior foreign-exchange trader at Oanda. Because Australia relies heavily on its commodity exports, expectations of some relief from the long oil-price rout can sway the currency.

The Australian dollar was fetching around $0.7518 Friday afternoon, up from as little as $0.7480 on Thursday. That was despite the dollar remaining fairly strong on the back of renewed Fed rate hike expectations, with the dollar index remaining at the 96 handle.

The Chinese yuan was weaker against the dollar, with the dollar/yuan pair up 0.11 percent at 6.5195. Before market open, the People’s Bank of China set the yuan mid-point fix at 6.5223 to the dollar, compared with Thursday’s fix at 6.5150.

In corporate news, troubled Japanese electronics maker Sharp said Friday its annual earnings are to likely fall short of official projections partially due to weak sales in China, reported Reuters. The statement came as a response to the Yomiuri daily report which said Sharp could book an operating loss of “tens of billions of yen” in the business year ending this month, said Reuters.

Sharp shares were lower by 2.34 percent.

In other news, Reuters reported municipal authorities in Shanghai have introduced new rules to cool its overheated property market. Home buyers will have to make down payments between 50 to 70 percent of the price of the house for their second home in order to qualify for a mortgage, said Reuters.

The Shanghai composite property subindex was up 0.44 percent, while the CSI300 Real Estate subindex added 0.46 percent.

Major U.S. indexes closed mixed overnight, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 0.08 percent, the S&P 500 off by 0.04 percent and the Nasdaq composite up by 0.1 percent.

The major averages still ended a five-week win streak, falling about half a percent over four days that saw some of the lowest trade volume of the year so far. Markets are closed Friday for Good Friday.

—Patti Domm contributed to this article.

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Asia markets mixed as Fed concerns persist – CNBC}