Asian stock markets lower amid Thanksgiving holiday trading lull

TOKYO – Asian stocks markets were lower in muted trading Friday after Wall Street was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, and investors continued to watch for developments in tense relations between Russia and Turkey.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 inched down 0.3 per cent to 19,886.35 while South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.1 per cent at 2,031.99. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1 per cent to 22,269.02 and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.8 per cent to 3,605.64. Other regional markets were also lower, falling in Taiwan, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.

EUROPE BUOYED: Shares rose in Europe on Thursday on hopes the European Central Bank might announce further stimulus measures next week. Britain’s FTSE 100 closed up 0.9 per cent at 6,393.13 while Germany’s DAX rose 1.4 per cent to 11,320.77. The CAC-40 in France ended 1.1 per cent higher at 4,946.02.

RUSSIA AND TURKEY: Markets have been wary about geopolitical tensions after Turkey downed a Russian plane that entered its territory from war torn Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his nation is ready to co-operate with the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, while criticizing the U.S., saying it should have prevented its coalition ally Turkey from making such a move.

THE QUOTE: “Russia has threatened to retaliate economically against Turkey in response to the shooting down of its warplane, but both sides appear keen not to escalate any military tensions despite a war of words,” said Chang Wei Liang of the Singapore Treasury Division of Mizuho Bank. “With Russia-Turkey economic ties being rather small in the context of the global economy, we think that risks of spillovers to the global recovery are rather small.”

WALL STREET: New York trading was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, but it’s set to reopen Friday for an abbreviated session. Much of the interest will likely centre on retail stocks because of Black Friday, when millions of Americans venture to shops the day after Thanksgiving in search of bargains.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 52 cents to $42.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, lost 8 cents to $45.48 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was little changed at 122.61 yen from 122.62 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.6012 from $1.0607.


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