Asian markets mostly lower Friday

July 3, 2009 at 10:12 AM

TOKYO, July 3 (UPI) -- Asian markets followed U.S. stock indexes lower Friday, although declines were softer than Thursday's pre-holiday losses on Wall Street.

U.S. markets fell hard Thursday following news the unemployment rate rose from 9.4 percent to 9.5 percent in June. On Friday, U.S. markets were closed in observance of Independence Day.

In Japan, the Nikkei average slid 0.6 percent, 60.08 points, to 9,816.07. Tokyo's Topix index lost 3.40 points, 0.37 percent to 920.62. The Singapore Straits Times dropped 21.07 points, 0.91 percent, to 2,299.75.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong bucked the trend, rising 0.14 percent, 25.35 points, to 18,203.40. In Australia, the S&P/ASX index fell 1.27 percent, 49.10 points, to 3,828.20.

In Japan, Mitsubishi Corp. shares dropped 0.5 percent. Toshiba Corp. gained 0.85 percent. Nippon Steel lost 1.1 percent.

"After yesterday's surprise jump in U.S. unemployment, with the Americans off on holiday celebrating Independence Day, we are probably facing a directionless day," said David Jones, market strategist at IG Index, The New York Times reported.

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