Asia shares mixed in quiet holiday trading, Japan's Nikkei edges lower on bleak data update

Energy Associated Press

Shares were mixed in Asia on Friday with most markets in the region and across the globe closed for Christmas holidays. Japan's benchmark edged lower after the government reported lackluster inflation, industrial production and household spending for November.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index slipped 0.2 percent to 17,779.18 and Singapore's Straits Times index edged 0.1 percent lower to 3,342.20. But South Korea's Kospi gained 0.3 percent to 1,961.60 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.4 percent to 3,114.02.

JAPAN DATA: Japan's inflation rate eased slightly in November as household spending dropped, hindering the government's effort to get the world's third-largest economy out of recession and back to sustainable growth. Government data released Friday showed core consumer prices, excluding food, rose 2.7 percent while the inflation rate excluding food and energy was 2.1 percent. Household spending was down 2.5 percent as incomes edged lower and industrial output fell 3.8 percent from a year earlier.

CHINA'S BOUNCE: The Shanghai benchmark rebounded Thursday by 3.4 percent after losing more than 5 percent in the previous two days on concerns that regulators might act to cool surging share prices. It extended gains on Friday on bargain hunting of major transport and property development shares.

ENERGY: The price of benchmark U.S. crude oil fell rose 30 cents to $56.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The benchmark fell $1.28 to close at $55.84 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, gained 18 cents to $60.42 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar edged lower to 120.20 Japanese yen from its previous close of 120.33. The euro was almost unchanged at $1.2217 versus $1.2213 on Wednesday.