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Updated from 12:38 a.m. EST

Asian markets ended mixed Friday, with stocks in Japan finishing lower and South Korean stocks rebounding after the central bank cut interest rates for the third time in a month.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed lower by 3.6% to 8583.


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shares fell after the automaker drastically slashed its annual profit forecast on Thursday. Other automakers were lower, and shares of other exporters declined.

The Kospi index in South Korea rose 3.9% as the Bank of Korea cut interest rates a quarter-point to 4%.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong finished up 3.3%, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 2.4%.

BHP Billiton

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tumbled as did fellow mining company

Rio Tinto

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after Moody's cut the rating on the company.

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Stocks in Europe were higher Friday. The FTSE 100 index in London rose 1.1%, while the DAX in Frankfurt rose 0.6%.

British Airways

shares rose as the carrier raised its revenue forecast. Shares of

Munich Re

, the world's biggest reinsurer, rose despite cutting its 2008 profit target.

Premarket futures in the U.S. were indicating a higher open for stocks on Wall Street after the market closed with heavy losses Thursday as economic data releases pointed to a prolonged downturn and companies reported job cuts, weak earnings and flagging sales.

S&P 500

futures rose 18.90 points to 923.40, and were 20.01 points above fair value.


futures rose 22.50 points to 1263, and were 20.24 points above fair value.

Traders in the U.S. are awaiting a report Friday on unemployment for October.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

sank 443.48 points, or 4.9%, to 8695.79 on Thursday, and the S&P 500 gave back 47.89 points, or 5%, to 904.88. The Nasdaq shed 72.94 points, or 4.3%, to 1608.70.

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