Asian stock markets were marginally higher Friday, after an overnight recovery of technology stocks on Wall Street. An agreement among key crude exporting countries to extend oil production cuts also boosted sentiment. Japan's Nikkei 225 was flat at 22,724.11 while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2% to 2,480.42. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.1% to 29,158.26 and China's Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1 % to 3,316.50. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 % to 5,981.20.
Stocks in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. In China, the latest Caixin purchasing managers' index showed that factory activity fell to its lowest level in five months in November while confidence about the business outlook also dropped. The indicator that shows a snapshot of operating conditions in China's manufacturing economy registered 50.8 last month, down from 51.0 in October. On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average finished with its biggest gain since March and pushed it past the 24,000 mark for the first time. The Dow jumped 1.4 % to 24,272.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 0.8 % to 2,647.58 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.7 % to 6,873.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked 0.1 % to 1,544.14. Crude oil prices gained after OPEC and a group of allied oil-producing nations agreed to extend crude output cuts until the end of next year.
Benchmark U.S. crude added 20 cents to $57.60 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract finished at $57.40 per barrel on Thursday, up 10 cents. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 34 cents to $62.97 per barrel in London. It finished at $62.63 a barrel, up 10 cents in the previous day. The dollar edged higher to 112.57 yen from 112.54 yen while the euro rose slightly to $1.1907 from $1.1904.