Asian equities were largely higher on Friday with the Nikkei ending up 2.88% in low volume trade with leads from the gains in the U.S. markets overnight and supported by a weaker yen.
On Friday, The Bank of Japan released the minutes of the 21-22 January policy meeting. According to the notes, several of the nine board members said aggressive monetary easing does not have to end strictly in two years from April 2013.
The BOJ has vowed to boost inflation to stable 2% in about two years from last April through massive cash injections into financial markets and large-scale purchase of mainly Japanese government bonds.
European stock markets were steady to higher on Friday, supported an upbeat trend on U.S. and Asian markets, although Thursday’s weak euro zone data continued to weigh.
UK retail sales, including automotive fuel fell 1.5 percent month-on-month in January, which was the first decline in three months, the Office for National Statistics said. Retail sales declined more than expected in January due to a notable decrease in food store sales, official data showed Friday.
Retail sales excluding automotive fuel, also decreased by 1.5 percent in January versus 2.7 percent increase a month ago.
The US Dollar was steady to higher against the other major currencies on Friday, as investors awaited the release of U.S. home sales data later in the day, while Thursday’s upbeat economic reports continued to support.
Euro currency extended the losses for third day against the greenback, the currency quotes at $1.3705, down 0.09%. The US dollar index quotes higher at 80.42, up 0.10 points.
The COMEX gold April delivery quotes higher at $1,320.70 a troy ounce, up $3.80 and Silver March delivery quotes higher at $21.763, up $0.079 a troy ounce.
Indian Gold futures bounced back from the losses, tracking the recovery in the international gold prices, however, strong local currency kept the upside limited. The Indian rupee quotes at Rs 62.07, down 0.27% from last close.
MCX Gold for the April delivery quotes at Rs 29,889, up Rs 6 per 10 grams, March Silver quotes at Rs 47,531, up Rs 45 per 1 kg.