Asia stocks mixed after weak US economy indicators

AP News
Posted: Dec 26, 2011 3:26 AM
Asia stocks mixed after weak US economy indicators

Asian stock markets were mixed in holiday-thinned trading Monday after weak U.S. indicators dulled optimism about prospects for the world's biggest economy.

Several markets were closed including Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand. Oil traders were also on holiday. Wall Street and European stock markets are closed Monday because Christmas fell on a Sunday this year.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index finished up 1 percent at 8,479.34 after being closed for a public holiday Friday while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.6 percent to 1,856.70.

China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.7 percent to 2,190.11. Markets in India and the Philippines gained while benchmarks inTaiwan and Thailand fell.

Figures showing that U.S. consumer spending and personal income rose by a modest 0.1 percent in November were below market expectations. The headline 3.8 percent increase in durable goods orders last month masked a decline in a crucial investment measure, benefiting from big orders for Boeing aircraft.

The data offset some of the optimism in markets about the U.S. economy following a run of largely positive indicators. Since Thursday, investors have taken heart from figures showing that the number of initial jobless claims in the U.S. unexpectedly fell 4,000 last week to 364,000, the lowest level since April 2008.

While the U.S. economy has been the dominant driver in markets the past few days, Europe's debt crisis is likely to remain the key market focus next year.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 124.35 points, or 1 percent, to 12,294 on Friday in quiet pre-holiday trade. The Nasdaq composite index gained 19.19 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,618.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 11.33 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,265.33.

In currencies, the euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.3068. The dollar was down 0.1 percent at 77.96 yen.