Asian markets rise, on Wall Street's weakness

Most Asian markets extended their gains for a second session Friday, shrugging off declines on Wall Street. India's stock market hit a new record high.

Japanese stocks rose to a fresh four-year high, extending gains from the previous day on optimism about the Japanese economy and on continued foreign investor buying. Buyers snapped up oil, pharmaceutical, real estate and retail stocks.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rose 93.03 points, or 0.7 percent, to end at 12,600.00 its highest close since July 5, 2001. On Thursday, the Nikkei climbed 93.37 points, or 0.8 percent.

Among today's notable gainers were pharmaceutical companies, with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Astellas Pharma Co. and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. all hitting year-to-date highs.

Hong Kong stocks advanced for a second consecutive session, propelled by property shares on robust flat sale and on anticipation that the interest rate cycle will peak.

The Hang Seng Index gained 78.14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,221.89, after it jumped 240.20 points, or 1.6 percent, on Thursday.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar weakened against the Japanese yen. It bought 109.56 yen in late Tokyo trading, down 1.24 yen from late Thursday and below the 109.88 yen it fetched in New York later Thursday.

The euro rose to US$1.2543 from US$1.2370 late Thursday, reports the AP.

And in the United States, a small but growing number of service stations had to hang up "Out of Gas" signs, informs Forbes.

The front-month October light, sweet crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 42 cents to $69.05 a barrel midafternoon in Singapore Friday. The contract rose 53 cents in New York floor trade to close at $69.47, after earlier reaching its all-time high of $70.85 Aug. 30.

Gasoline futures fell 6 cents to $2.3405 a gallon, but is still twice the price from last year. On London's Internationa Petroleum Exchange, October Brent fell 45 cents to $67.27 a barrel.

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