The Nikkei Index climbed to a three-week high on Thursday, extending its advance into a ninth straight day, as the weaker Yen boosted exporters on the back of a stronger US Dollar after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's July meeting suggested that interest rates would remain near zero for a longer period after the central bank ends its program of buying assets, which is expected about October.
The markets in both Hong Kong and on mainland China slipped lower on Thursday after the release of the HSBC/Markit Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey which showed that growth in China's vast factory sector slowed to a three-month low in August, strengthening fears that the economy was slowing.
According to Reuters, European markets edged lower on Wednesday with investors rattled after the share price of Danish brewer Carlsberg fell 5.8% after the company released a profit warning on the back of deteriorating conditions in Russia, which generates about 35% of its profits.
Reuters reports that U.S. markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 Index barely missing its record close, with the NASDAQ edging off its recent 14-year high, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting gave investors reason to believe that the central bank was in no hurry to increase interest rates.
Business Day reports that the JSE All Share Index ended in positive territory after a volatile trading session on Wednesday with platinum and banking shares leading the decliners on the back of indications that fund managers regard the market as being overvalued, while resources and gold mining shares provided some support.
The Rand was last trading weaker at R10.7441against the US Dollar, with the Euro quoted softer at R14.2306 and the British Pound at R17.7731.
The gold price continued to lose ground for a fifth session in Singapore on Thursday, after the U.S. Dollar gained on the release of the latest minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Gold was last trading at $1,285.21, with the platinum price quoted at $1,422.90, while the palladium price was last at the $863.75 level.
Brent was last trading slightly higher at $101.96 a barrel.