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Asian shares mixed, Nikkei down on profit-taking

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Asian markets were mixed on Friday, with Japanese investors cashing in after the Nikkei ended at a near six-year high, sending the index lower despite upbeat data showing a strong rise in inflation.

The yen edged down against the dollar, and against the euro sat at lows not seen since the beginning of the financial crisis after official figures showed Japanese inflation at a more than 15-year high.

However, there were few catalysts to drive trade, with Wall Street closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Tokyo fell 0.41 percent, or 65.25 points, to 15,661.87 after closing Thursday at its highest level since mid-December 2007 thanks to a weakening yen and record closes in New York.

Seoul was flat, dipping 0.90 points to 2,044.87, while Sydney gave up 0.27 percent, or 14.3 points to close at 5,320.0.

Shanghai finished flat, edging up 1.13 points to 2,220.50 while Hong Kong was up 0.39 percent, adding 92.20 points to 23,881.29.

While investors in Japan took their cash off the table after the week's rally, the yen provided support as the upbeat global sentiment provided incentives to move into higher yielding, riskier currencies such as the euro.

The Nikkei's losses came despite inflation data showing prices in Japan rose 0.3 percent month on month in October -- their fastest pace since August 1998 and boosting hopes that a drive by the government and Bank of Japan to end deflation is working.

In afternoon trade the euro bought 139.20 yen -- after at one point hitting 139.70 yen, its highest since October 2008 -- compared with 139.05 yen. It also sat at $1.3610 against $1.3601.

The single currency continued to get support from news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had finally managed to form a coalition government for Europe's biggest economy, two months after elections.

The dollar bought 102.25 yen compared with 102.24 yen Thursday in European trade. The dollar is edging up to levels around 103.70 yen seen in May, which was a four-and-a-half-year high.

In oil trade New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, was up 16 cents at $92.46 while Brent North Sea crude for January eased 22 cents to $110.64.

Gold fetched $1,245.50 per ounce at 1040 GMT compared with $1,241.77 on Thursday.

In other markets:

-- Singapore slipped 0.31 percent, or 10.02 points, to 3,176.35.

Vehicle distributor Jardine Cycle and Carriage rose 1.06 percent to Sg$35.30 while DBS Bank gained 0.23 percent to Sg$17.18.

-- Bangkok rose 0.86 percent, or 11.68 points, to 1,371.13.

Coal producer Banpu gained 2.50 percent to 30.75 baht and energy giant PTT Plc climbed 1.03 percent to 295.00 baht.

-- Kuala Lumpur advanced 0.28 percent, or 5.12 points, to 1,812.72.

Axiata Group added 0.3 percent to 6.72 ringgit while SapuraKencana Petroleum rose 0.5 percent to 4.29. Budget carrier AirAsia lost 0.4 percent to 2.39 ringgit.

-- Jakarta ended up 0.53 percent, or 22.51 points, at 4,256.44.

Retailer Ramayana Lestari Sentosa gained 5.71 percent to 1,110 rupiah, while palm oil firm Wilmar Cahaya Kalbar dropped 2.56 percent to 1,140 rupiah.

-- Taipei rose 0.53 percent, or 44.40 points, to 8,406.83.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was unchanged at Tw$104.5 while leading chip design house MediaTek was up 0.23 percent at Tw$436.0.

-- Manila rose 0.63 percent, or 38.86 points, to 6,208.82.

-- Wellington fell 0.30 percent, or 14.51 points, to 4,794.95.

Air New Zealand was off 1.50 percent at NZ$1.645 and Fletcher Building eased 0.22 percent to NZ$9.13.

-- Mumbai shares rose 1.25 percent, or 257.02 points to 20,791.93, led by fresh institutional fund buying.

Private Jaiprakash Associates climbed 9.09 percent to 54.0 rupees while state-run Bank of Baroda added 5.12 percent to 646.35 rupees.

dan/mtp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131129/asian-shares-mixed-nikkei-down-profit-taking