Shares were mixed in Asia Thursday on quiet trading marked by rumors.Japan's Nikkei led gains again, climbing 415 points, or 3.03%, to 14,124.47, after the U.S. dollar broke the crucial 105 yen band. The yen ended the day at 105.21 vs. the dollar, from 104.89 previously. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 135 points, or 0.6%, to 24,383.99, and in China the Shanghai Composite Index lost 58 points, or 1.7%, to 3401.44. "The Hong Kong and other regional markets are remaining pretty much technical these days, with a lack of companies reporting and constant reminding on the state of the U.S. housing market," says Steven Wong, a trader at Daiwa Bank in Hong Kong. "There is an upside bias likely with obvious beneficiaries being airlines and exporters after crude's drop." The days news flow was dominated by a rumor that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has been assassinated. The rumor of the assassination, which has been flying around the region quietly for a few days, gained further attention when South Korean internet site News Hankuk reported an unnamed Chinese official saying that Kim Jong Il has been assassinated "with ninety percent certainty." The article states that the President of North Korea was killed on a road near Pyongyang between 7 pm and 8 pm local time, or 6 am and 7 am EST, on May 26. The South Korean government denies the rumor, while North Korea's state-owned news organization KCNA says that the President has been busy visiting textile plants and watching performances.
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