Asian markets mixed as trading resumes following Christmas break

BEIJING, China – Asian markets were mixed Thursday as trading resumed in some countries following the Christmas break.

Oil stayed above $99 per barrel.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 1 per cent to 16,155.51 as the yen weakened against the dollar in a possible boost to exporters. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 1 per cent to 2,085.84 as concern about a credit shortage in the Chinese interbank market faded.

Taipei was up 0.3 per cent at 8,490.53 and Seoul gained 0.1 per cent to 2,004.3. Singapore and Manila also gained. Hong Kong, Sydney and New Zealand were closed, with trading to resume Friday.

The Chinese Cabinet expects this year’s economic growth to be 7.6 per cent, down slightly from 2012’s 7.7 per cent, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

In foreign exchange markets, the dollar edged up to 104.68 yen. The euro was trading at $1.368.

Crude oil for February delivery gained 29 cents to $99.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract 31 cents to settle at $99.22 the previous day.