Forex Pros - Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday, after official data showed that Japan's economy contracted for the second consecutive quarter, pushing the country back into recession and fuelling concerns over the global economic recovery.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged 0.4% higher, South Korea's Kospi Composite tumbled 1.8%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slumped 0.43%.
Preliminary data released earlier in the day showed that Japan's economy contracted more-than-expected in the first quarter, declining by a seasonally adjusted 0.9%, after falling by a revised 0.8% in the preceding quarter. Analysts had expected Japan's GDP to contract by 0.5% in the quarter.
The GDP reading was the first to include the impact of the March 13 earthquake and tsunami, which also triggered a still-ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Meanwhile, shares in Tokyo Electric Power Company tumbled 8% after Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Japan will debate an overhaul of the nation's energy industry.
Shares in consumer electronics giant Sony slumped 1.4% after chief executive Howard Stringer said that he expected to lose customers from the hacker attack on its PlayStation Network last month. He also warned that the company could not guarantee the security of any network in the "bad new world" of cybercrime.
Elsewhere, shares in oil producers were broadly higher in Hong Kong after oil prices climbed above USD100 a barrel.
Oil and gas giant PetroChina saw shares add 1.1%, shares in China's largest offshore oil driller CNOOC jumped 1.5%, while China Shenhua Energy saw shares advance 1.7%.
The outlook for European equity markets, meanwhile, was mixed. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a modest decline of 0.1%, France's CAC 40 futures added 0.1%, the FTSE 100 futures pointed to a rise of 0.12%, while Germany's DAX futures indicated an increase of 0.15%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish its weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as industry data on existing home sales and official data on manufacturing activity in Philadelphia.
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