Asian Shares Slip In Thinned Trade as Several Markets Close for Lunar New Year Holiday

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Asian stocks eased, but trade was thin with several markets closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Several countries, including China, Hong Kong and Singapore, were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Initially, Japanese stocks were cheered by some strong data. Core consumer inflation rose at the fastest pace in more than five years in December. Core CPI, which excludes volatile fresh-food costs, climbed 1.3% from a year earlier in December, faster than a 1.2% gain in the previous month. It was the biggest rise since a 1.9% increase in October 2008, and higher than a 1.2% increase expected the forecast of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal and the Nikkei.

Japan's seasonally adjusted average unemployment rate fell to 3.7% in December from 4.0% in November, hitting the lowest level in six years since December 2007, when it was also 3.7%. The pace of job creation from a year earlier accelerated to 910,000 from 740,000 in November, marking the 12th consecutive year-over-year increase. The number of unemployed fell 340,000 year over year in December, the 43rd straight monthly drop.

Industrial production rose 1.1% on month in December. Although the rise after adjustment for seasonal factors was smaller than the 1.3% increase forecast by economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal and the Nikkei, investors were optimistic that production was still growing.

However, sentiment turned later as some re-interpreted the data and began to see the downside of the strong data - that the Bank of Japan may no longer have reason to ease monetary policy.

Elsewhere, Thailand's trade deficit fell to $285 million in December from $557 million in November, the Ministry of Commerce said Friday. Exports increased 1.87% on year to $18.44 billion

In ADR news, Canon ( CAJ ) posted a net profit increase of 5% for the October-December quarter.

Kyocera ( KYO ) lowered its full-year estimates as a result of the slowdown in smartphone-related orders.

The Nikkei ended 0.62% at 14,914.53.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: CAJ , KYO

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