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Asian stocks post modest gains in early trade; Nikkei inches up 0.05%

During early Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.47% to 19,752.50,

Along with the Nikkei, the broader-based Topix Index of all issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange picked up 0.18% to 753.15.

Japan's Statistics Bureau announced late Thursday that the core consumer price index for July rose 0.1% year on year, while Tokyo's core consumer price index fell to an annualized rate of minus 0.2% from 0.4% the preceding month.

The rise in the national consumer price index helped to temporarily diffuse ongoing deflation concerns in Japan, as the economy battles to recover from the devastating March 11 earthquake.

Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of Americans filing for unemployment assistance rose by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 417,000, in the week ending August 19.

Market expectations were for jobless claims to fall to 405,000 from 412,000 the previous week. The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 9.2%.

In light of a faltering U.S. economy investors on both sides of the Pacific were expected to pay close attention to Bernanke's speech later Friday, for signs of any willingness on the part of the central bank to take further steps to stimulate growth.

Wall Street ended a three-day winning streak, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.5%, the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 1.95%, and the S&P 500 lost 1.56%.

A rising dollar helped to lift export shares in Tokyo, with Sony Corp. up 0.6% in early trade, and Kyocera Corp. adding 0.42%.

In Sydney, Fairfax Holdings Ltd. jumped 8.4% ahead of a planned initial public offering of one of its divisions.

The outlook for European stocks was optimistic. France's CAC 40 futures was higher by 0.39% to 3,110.30, Britain's FTSE 100 futures rose 0.8% to 5,131.50, while Germany's DAX futures added 0.6% to 5,561.60.

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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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