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Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade, Nikkei down, Sydney up

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Shutterstock photo - - Sydney managed to gain on Friday in Asia, while Tokyo fell with many other markets closed in holiday-thinned regional trade though still a busy data day.

The Nikkei 225 fell 0.61%, while the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.40%, after mildly upbeat official manufacturing data from top trading partner China.

The data was part of a busy suite due at the end of the week from around the region, even with many countries marking the May 1 labor day, including China which still posted official manufacturing figures as well as services.

In Japan, core consumer prices rose 2.2% year-on-year in March, a touch higher than the 2.1% seen. As well, the jobless rate ticked down to 3.4%, better than the 3.5% expected.

But household spending dropped for the 12th straight time, falling 10.6%, although better than the 12.1% drop forecast by analysts.

Official China manufacturing data for April held at 50.1, better than an expected show, and just at the expansion zone. Non manufacturing, or services fell to 53.4 in April from 53.7 in March.

In Australia, producer prices rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, above the 0.2% 0.2% quarter-on-quarter gain expected.

In Japan wages data showed a gain of 0.1%, well below the 0.4% expected for March year-on-year.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday closing the month on a down note, as losses in Apple Inc (NASDAQ:NASDAQ:AAPL) and other technology stocks weighed on all three major indices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Composite index each fell by more than 1% for the session, while the NASDAQ tumbled more than 75 points to close below 5,000.

Apple plunged more than 2% on the session amid a report by the Wall Street Journal that the company is limiting shipments of the iWatch after a key component of the device was found to be defective.

The NASDAQ closed at 4,941.42, down 82.22 or 1.64%. The S&P 500 lost 21.34 or 1.01% to 2,085.51, as all 10 sectors closed in the red.

On Thursday, there was mostly positive U.S. economic reports, but the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement continued to weigh on the greenback.

The Department of Labor reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 25 fell by 34,000 to a 15-year low 262,000 from the previous week's total of 296,000. Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to fall by 6,000 to 290,000 last week.

Separately, the Commerce Department said that U.S. personal spending inched up 0.4% last month, below expectations for a gain of 0.5%. Personal spending rose 0.2% in February.

The report also showed personal income was flat in March, missing forecasts for a 0.2% increase and after gaining 0.4% in February.

In addition, market research group Kingsbury International said its Chicago purchasing managers' index improved by 6.0 points to 52.3 this month from a reading of 46.3 in March. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 50.0 in April. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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

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

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