Good Friday Recap: Japanese Stocks Rise, U.S. Dollar Falls as Attention Shifts to Economic Data

Japan’s benchmark stock index rose on Friday, its fifth advance in six days, after markets surrendered big gains during the previous session due to profit-taking. In currencies, the U.S. dollar slipped from six-week highs as Good Friday kept most North American traders on the sidelines.

Nikkei Records Gains

The Nikkei 225 index climbed 110.44 points, or 0.5%, to close at 22,200.56. On Thursday, the Japanese benchmark surrendered four-month highs as traders took profits following five consecutive daily advances.

Tokyo’s Topix Index edged up 0.1% on Friday to close at 1,616.93.

European and North American stock markets were closed for Good Friday. Markets are set to reopen at the start of next week.

Japanese stocks are rallying at a time when the country’s central bank has vowed to employ additional policy tools to combat weak inflation and a slowing economy. On Wednesday, Bank of Japan (BOJ) deputy governor Masayoshi Amamiya said the central bank is ready to act but will be mindful not to repeat measures that fueled the country’s asset-inflated bubble three decades ago.

Dollar Backtracks

The U.S. dollar index (DXY) on Friday backtracked slightly against a basket of competitor currencies just one day after notching fresh six-week highs. The dollar index fell 0.1% to 97.36.

On Thursday, DXY rose 0.5% after the Commerce Department reported a sharp acceleration in consumer spending at the end of the first quarter. Retail sales, one of the best proxies for consumer spending, surged 1.6% in March. That was the biggest gain since September 2017.

On Friday, the Department of Commerce reported another drop in housing starts and building permits in March. Housing starts declined 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.139 million. Building permits, which are a barometer of future construction plans, dipped 1.7% to a 1.269 million-unit pace.

Next week, investors can expect several high-profile data releases, including durable goods orders and preliminary Q1 GDP data. In monetary policy, the BOJ is scheduled to deliver its latest interest rate verdict on Thursday.

Crypto Markets Stabilize

Crypto markets continue to hover near yearly highs at the end of the week, a strong sign that the dominant trend favors the bulls. The combined market cap of all cryptocurrencies reached a high of $180.9 billion; it was last spotted at $180.3 billion.

Bitcoin (BTC), the largest and most influential cryptocurrency, is back to trading above $5,300, according to CoinMarketCap. On Bitfinex, BTC notched a session high of $5,376.

Also read Crypto Week in Review: Bitcoin’s Virtuous Cycle Continues while Small Caps Surge.

By the afternoon, most of the majors were trading mixed-to-lower. Binance Coin (BNB) was the notable exception. The native token of the Binance exchange was up 10.9% to $24.15. BNB has gained more than 32% this week.

Tezos (XTZ) and Basic Attention Token (BAT) also outperformed the market this week, gaining 35% and 31%, respectively.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Chart via 

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi