Asia Stocks Mixed After Weak US Economy Indicators

By Salon Staff

Published December 26, 2011 5:18AM (EST)

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets are mixed in holiday-thinned trading Monday after weak U.S. indicators dulled optimism about prospects for the world's biggest economy.

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

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index was up 1 percent at 8,482.70 after being closed for a public holiday Friday while South Korea's Kospi was down 0.6 percent at 1,856.70.

China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.3 percent to 2,198.51. Markets in India, Thailand and the Philippines gained. Taiwan's benchmark 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 $1.3060. The dollar was down 0.1 percent at 77.97 yen.

Salon Staff

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