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Shares mostly higher in quiet holiday trading; Shanghai continues rebound

TOKYO – Shares were mostly higher in quiet trading Friday, as most markets in the region and across the globe were closed for the Christmas holiday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index extended gains in the second day of a rebound from this week’s earlier sell-off.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.1 per cent higher to 17,818.96 and South Korea’s Kospi also gained 0.1 per cent to 1,948.16. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.8 per cent to 3,157.60. Southeast Asian markets were mixed. U.S. markets looked set for gains when they reopen Friday, with Dow futures up 0.2 per cent and S&P futures 0.1 per cent higher.

JAPAN DATA: Shares recovered lost ground on expectations of further government stimulus after Japan’s inflation rate eased slightly in November, hindering efforts to attain the 2 per cent target seen as essential for putting growth back on track. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was due to announce 3.5 trillion yen ($29 billion) in fresh spending on Saturday.

CHINA’S BOUNCE: The Shanghai benchmark rose Friday on bargain hunting of major transport and property development shares after rebounding by 3.4 per cent Thursday following two days of selling that cost it more than 5 per cent due to worries that regulators might act to cool surging share prices.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil was trading at $56.12 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 40 cents to $60.64 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar was almost unchanged at 120.34 Japanese yen, from its previous close of 120.33. The euro slipped to $1.2192 from $1.2213.