Asian markets up in shortened, pre-holiday trading

Japanese traders were left directionless Friday, having no other global market activity to use as reference for making trades.
By Ananth Baliga  |  April 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM
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TOKYO, April 18 (UPI) -- With most stock markets closed for the Good Friday holiday, Japan's Nikkei and South Korea's KOSPI saw some light trading.

The Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.5 percent at 14494.47, while the KOSPI rose 0.6 percent. Japanese stocks are making a small recovery after plummeting 7 percent last week. Stocks prices are low, roughly 14 times earnings, but this hasn't triggered any large-scale buying.

“It’s rare when so many investors are literally out of the game. Domestic Japanese stock traders are typically not decisive enough to participate in the market without seeing how every other bourse is doing, “ said Kenichi Hirano, a market analyst at Tachibana Securities.

The yen's fall against most major currencies saw Japanese stocks rise, as traders are still figuring out what to make of mixed corporate earnings.

After some initial buying, which saw it rise to 14,536, the Nikkei lost some ground as investors began to book profits.

“Investors found the Nikkei’s rise above 14,500 to be a good opportunity to lock in profits, given several technical indicators, including the 25-day moving average, converging around the line,” Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan, said.

“U.S. stocks’ tendency to drop after Easter holidays also prompted investors to sell to close positions,” Otani added.

Trading levels at the Nikkei were at their lowest in 12 months, reaching 1.24 billion shares as compared to 1.91 billion shares traded on Thursday.

Markets in Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore and Hong Kong were closed. U.S. and European exchanges will also be closed Friday.

[The Japan Times] [MarketWatch]

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