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Asian stocks mixed on Europe fears; Nikkei off 1.44%

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Investing.com - Asian equities are mixed at this hour, but the regions major bourses are mostly in the red as traders remain skittish about the situation in Cyprus and several days of declines for U.S. stocks.

In Asian trading Friday, Japan's Nikkei 225 is off 1.44 % after new Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda failed to wow market participants with a bold plan for new monetary easing in his first speech as the central bank's leader. Kuroda, a vocal critic of the previous BoJ regime, may still deliver what yen bears want to hear when BoJ meets early next month.

Elsewhere, technical analysis by Credit Suisse indicates that if USD/JPY cracks resistance at 96.71, the pair could quickly head to 100, its highest level in nearly four years. While yen gained 1.2% against the dollar over the past five days leading up to Friday, the Japanese currency is still the worst-performing developed market currency in the world in 2013.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.24% while the Shanghai Composite added 0.22%.

In Cyprus Thursday, police clashed with protesters and the European Central Bank warned it may halt funding for the island nation as soon as March 25. Cyrpiot President Nicos Anastasiades has gone so far as to ask Russia to extend terms of a loan Russia granted Cyprus.

Policymakers are concerned that the plan Cyprus previously rejected to tax bank deposits may not be revisited unless the country finds other avenues to raise the USD7.5 billion the European Union and International Monetary Fund are asking to see before granting bailout assistance.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2% as traders continue to pare bets the Reserve Bank of Australia will not lower rates when it meets in early April. Today, RBA Assistant Governor Edey will speak in Melbourne at 12:45 p.m. local time while Governor Glenn Stevens is slated to speak in Melbourne on March 26.

New Zealand's NZSE 50 added 0.10% a day after that country said its gross domestic product rose 1.5% in the fourth quarter, beating expectations for a 0.9% rise, after a expansion of 0.2% in the previous quarter.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.08% while Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.08%. S&P 500 futures are up 0.01% at this writing.

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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.

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