6 Feb 2009

Asia-Pacific markets end week higher

8:50 pm on 6 February 2009

Markets in Asia and Australia finished the trading week higher on Friday. The New Zealand index was closed due Waitangi Day celebrations.

The Australian share market closed more than 1% stronger, driven by stronger resource stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 41.3 points, or 1.2%, at 3,469.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 34.9 points, or 1.03%, to 3,407.5.

The spot price of gold was $US912.00 an ounce at 1620 AEDT, up $US6.35 on Thursday's local close of $US905.65 an ounce.

Asia stocks rose on Friday ahead of a vote on a massive US stimulus package.

In Japan, share prices closed 1.60% higher. The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei-225 index rose 126.97 points to end at 8,076.62.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares added 4.43 points, or 0.56%, to 790.84.

After close of trading hours, Toyota Motor Corp warned its full-year loss would be three times what it expected just six weeks ago as the world's biggest automaker struggles to cut production fast enough to match plummeting sales.

Toyota said it expected an operating loss for the year to end-March of 450 billion yen ($US5 billion), instead of the 150 billion it forecast in late December, as it struggles to cut production fast enough to match sliding sales.

It would be Toyota's first consolidated operating loss in its 70-year history.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan climbed 1.2%, tacking on a second consecutive week of gains.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.3%, gapping higher at the open, helped by gains in index heavyweights such as HSBC and China Mobile.

Oil prices slipped US25 cents to $US40.92 a barrel.