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Euro angst keeps control of global markets as 2011 winds down

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Markets in Asia closed mixed on Friday, the last trading day of 2011, as traders weighed positive macro news in the United States but ultimately took their cues from the ongoing euro saga instead.

In Singapore ( EWS , quote ), shares fell 0.99%, while Australian stocks ( EWA , quote ) edged 0.29% lower.

Meanwhile in Shanghai, Chinese shares ( YAO , quote ) rose 1.19% on hints that industrial activity was slowing its recent contraction .

In Tokyo, Japanese stocks ( EWJ , quote ) climbed 0.67%. Japanese electronics firms ended the year on a positive note, with Sony shares rising 1.99% and Olympus stocks up 0.70%. Likewise, Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda climbed 1.38% and 1.03%, respectively.

Seoul's KOSPI ( EWY , quote ) was closed.

During morning trading, European markets were down, with London's FTSE falling 0.31% and the DAX dipping 0.18%. European shares are set to record their worst yearly performance since 2008, as the euro zone struggles to climb out of its debt crisis.

Despite the declines, traders were encouraged by news from the United States that the four-week average for new unemployment benefits claims in December fell to 375,000, the lowest level since June 2008. While the number of jobless claims rose last week by 15,000 after three weeks of declines, the broader trend suggests job growth will increase in 2012.

The Chinese yuan fell 0.38% against the dollar to 6.2944. The yuan, however, is set to appreciate 4.5% against the dollar over the year. The Japanese yen fell 0.26% to 77.40 to the greenback.

In Europe, the British pound rose 0.18% to $1.5438, while the euro, which will mark 10 years as a paper currency on New Year's Day, depreciated 0.15% to $1.294.

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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