Asian Stocks Close Mixed; Nikkei Rises 1.6% - TheStreet

Asian Stocks Close Mixed; Nikkei Rises 1.6%

Stocks in Asia closed mixed Friday on light volume. Japan shares rose despite a report that showed industrial production declined sharply.
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Updated from 12:40 a.m. EST

Asian stocks ended mixed Friday on light volume with stocks in Japan rising despite a report that showed industrial production declined sharply.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 1.6% to 8739.52.

"The Nikkei index rose modestly as investors bought back auto and electronics shares," which plummeted earlier on poor earnings projections amid a global recession, said Kazuki Miyazawa, market strategist at Daiwa Securities SMBC.

"Investors hunted for bargains in those shares to adjust their positions before the year end," Miyazawa said.

Investors shrugged off the bad economic data, which included a rise in joblessness and lower household spending, as the results were within the market's forecast, he said.

Output at Japan's manufacturers in November fell 8.1% from October, the largest fall since the government began measuring such data in 1953.

Toyota

(TM) - Get Report

rose 1.9%, and

Honda

(HMC) - Get Report

shares gained 1.8%.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

rose 1.5%, while shares of Japan's top brokerage,

Nomura Holdings

(NMR) - Get Report

, finished higher by 1.8%.

Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were closed.

The Shanghai composite index in China fell 0.05%, while the Kospi index in South Korea declined 0.9%.

Many European markets, including those in Britain and Germany, also were closed Friday.

Markets in the U.S. resume trading Friday after being closed for the Christmas holiday.

On Wednesday in a holiday-shortened session, stocks on Wall Street closed higher despite the release of higher-than-expected jobless claims.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

ended up 48.99 points, or 0.6%, at 8,468.48, and the

S&P 500

gained 4.99 points, or 0.6%, to 868.15. The

Nasdaq

tacked on 3.36 points, or 0.2%, to 1,524.90.

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