Dec 7, 2014 9:57 PM

Nikkei flat, yen weak on downbeat Japan GDP report

The Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) The Nikkei wavered and the yen weakened after revised figures showed that Japan's economy shrank more the first estimated last quarter. Most other Asian benchmarks rose after an upbeat U.S. jobs report.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent to 17,939.98. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.3 percent to 1,980.46 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.3 percent to 24,075.88. The Shanghai Composite in mainland China gained 1 percent to 2,966.44 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.1 percent to 5,394.90.

JAPAN ECONOMY: The Japanese economy contracted more than initially estimated in the third quarter, according to revised data, confirming a recession as the country prepares to go to the polls. With figures showing that the world's No. 3 economy shrank 1.9 percent in the July-September period, voters will be deciding this weekend whether to give Prime Minister Shinzo Abe more time for his monetary easing and other stimulus policies to work. Polls suggest Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party will retain its parliamentary majority.

US JOBS: Regional markets got a boost from data that showed U.S. employers added 321,000 jobs last month in the biggest burst of hiring in nearly three years. Unemployment held steady at 5.8 percent. It's the latest round of upbeat data on the world's biggest economy that reinforces expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next year.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average on Friday rose 0.3 percent to close at 17,958.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 added 0.2 percent to 2,075.37. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.2 percent to 4,780.76.

CURRENCIES: The dollar crept higher against the yen to 121.57 from 121.50 in late trading Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.2292 from $1.2286.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude loss 72 cents, or more than 1 percent, to $65.12 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 97 cents to close at $65.84 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price oil sold on international markets, dropped 75 cents to $68.32.


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