Asian Stocks Trading Mixed

Stocks in Japan were higher despite a report Toyota might slash its dividend payment.
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Asian stocks were mixed Monday, with the benchmark index in Japan higher despite a report that


(TM) - Get Report

, Japan's largest automaker, planned to cut its dividend payment.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 1.6% to 8723. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong declined 1.7%, while the S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia fell 1.6%.


Sankei Shimbun

newspaper reported Sunday that Toyota may slash its dividend for the year ending in March from 140 yen a share it paid the previous year.

Shares of

Rio Tinto

(RTP) - Get Report

fell after UBS cut its earnings target for the mining company.

HSBC Holdings


traded lower after Standard & Poor's gave the company a "negative" outlook, according to a



Meanwhile, a report from Japan's Ministry of Finance said Japanese exports plunged a record 26.7% in November, highlighting the drop in global consumer demand for automobiles, electronics parts and other Japanese products.

Economists warned that exports -- a mainstay of the world's second-largest economy -- would tumble further with no recovery in sight for the global economy. Even exports to the rest of Asia are falling sharply.

Exports suffered their biggest year-on-year drop since the current system of statistics went into effect in 1980. Exports totaled 5.3 trillion yen ($60 billion) while imports fell 14.4% from a year earlier to 5.55 trillion yen ($62 billion), the ministry said.

That resulted in a trade deficit of 223.4 billion yen ($2.5 billion) -- the fourth time this year Japan said its imports exceeded exports after January, August and October.

Premarket futures in the U.S. were indicating stocks would open higher Monday on Wall Street.

Stocks on Wall Street ended mixed Friday as morning enthusiasm for a $17.4 billion aid package for ailing Detroit automakers sputtered to the close of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

, which earlier rose more than 180 points, ended down 25.8 points, or 0.3%, at 8579.19. The

S&P 500

was edged up 2.32 points, or 0.3%, at 887.60, and the


added 11.95 points, or 0.8%, to 1564.32.

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