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Asian stocks mixed after US growth slowdown

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 30, 2014 at 10:01 pm •  Published: April 30, 2014

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Thursday with most markets closed for a holiday after U.S. economic growth slowed and the Federal Reserve promised to keep interest rates low.

Oil edged down to stay below $99 per barrel on expectation of weaker U.S. demand and reports of higher supplies.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.4 percent to 14,360.27 points and Malaysia added 0.7 percent to 1,871.52. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 5,467.10 while New Zealand was off 0.4 percent at 5,557.59.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan were closed for the labor day holiday.

Investors were encouraged by the Fed's pledge Wednesday following a policy meeting to keep short-term interest rates low to support the economy "for a considerable time" after its bond purchases end, likely late this year.

"The accommodative stance is certainly going to maintain the current upswings in consumer sentiment and spending," said Evan Lucas of IG Markets in a report.

In China, a survey of manufacturers by the state-sanctioned Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed April activity growth was weak, adding to signs the world's second-largest economy is cooling further after growth dipped to 7.4 percent in the three months ending in March.

In a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy, the Fed said it would go ahead with plans to reduce bond purchases by $10 billion this month. Such purchases were aimed at encouraging investment by pushing down long-term interest rates and have helped to buoy stock markets.

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