Asia stocks modestly higher after S&P hits record

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 29, 2013 at 7:10 am •  Published: March 29, 2013
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BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly higher Friday as momentum carried over from yet another record high on Wall Street.

Trading remained thin, however, as stock, bond and commodities markets were closed for Good Friday in the U.S. and Europe, along with large parts of Asia.

The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed Thursday at its highest level, driven by more encouraging data on the U.S. economic recovery. The government said the economy grew at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the October-December quarter, slightly better than previous estimates. The revision reflected stronger business investment and export sales.

Those markets open in Asia reflected the good news out of the U.S.: South Korea's Kospi rose 0.6 percent to 2,004.89. Taiwan's TAIEX advanced 0.7 percent to 7,918.61.

Japan's Nikkei reversed early losses to rise 0.5 percent and close at 12,397.91. Gains were muted, however, as the yen leveled off against the dollar and the government released figures for February showing the country's jobless rate edging up while industrial production fell slightly.

Newly appointed central bank governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, has pledged to work with the government to end decades of growth-inhibiting deflation. His outspoken calls for action have raised hopes for results but some analysts said they may also have created unrealistic expectations for a turnaround.

"Unfortunately, the markets' expectations of the new Governor are so high that they will be almost impossible to meet, let alone beat," said analysts at Capital Economics in a market commentary.

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