Asian equities were mixed on the last trading day of the week as traders are playing wait-and-see whether Greece will apply for an extension of its bailout program before the Friday deadline. “Expectations are fairly high that an agreement can be reached. While this is only a short-term solution in preparation for deeper negotiations in coming months, it should be enough to alleviate some of the near-term pressure investors were concerned about,” said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG, in a note. Trading volumes were thin for a second day due to market closures in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.News that Greece applied for an extension of euro zone financial support a day ahead of its Friday deadline underpinned gains. The Greek government requested a six-month assistance package, rather than an extension of the bailout. However, the request was rejected by Germany and will be discussed at a Eurogroup meeting scheduled later on Friday. Read More Germany snubs Greece: What to watch for next Overnight, Wall Street shares closed narrowly mixed on Thursday, with the Nasdaq (^IXIC) higher for seven days of gains – its strongest winning streak in a year – while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) touched a new intraday record high. Nikkei up 0.3% Japanese shares rose to fresh fifteen-year highs for the second straight session, boosted by a weaker currency as the yen (Exchange:JPYUSD=) breached the 119 handle against the dollar in early trade. Japan Display (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 6740.T-JP) jumped 8 percent on news it may be building a new factory plant in Japan to supply screen panels for Apple devices, according to local media. Banks that rallied on Thursday fell on profit-taking, with Mizuho (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 8411.T-JP), Mitsubishi UFJ (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 8306.T-JP) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 8316.T-JP) down nearly 1 percent each.
ASX dips 0.4% Australia’s benchmark S&P ASX 200 (^AXJO) extended the previous session’s losses with corporate earnings continuing to be the market’s main driver.
Medibank Private slumped 4 percent despite posting a 10.8 percent rise in adjusted first-half net profit. Meanwhile, insurer Covermore dropped over 7 percent despite posting double-digit revenue and earnings growth for the six-months that ended December.Warnings from S&P Ratings on Thursday that Australia’s triple-A sovereign rating may be at risk also dented sentiment.
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