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Stocks swing in Asia amid light holiday trade, Nikkei drops below 15,000

January 31, 2014

Asian shares fluctuated between gains and losses on the final trading day of the month, getting some momentum from data showing strong U.S. growth, while trading volumes were thin on Friday due to the Chinese New Year holidays. Japanese stocks were able to dig out of deeper losses, but the Japanese benchmark index Nikkei still ended below 15,000 points, weighed by a stronger yen. Nikkei felt the weight of the yen's advance against its U.S. counterpart, with the dollar falling back below the 103-yen level as investors have recently been seeking the safety of yen over that of the greenback's during a time of rising concerns about growth and the health of emerging markets. Nikkei fell sharply in January with losses exceeding 8 percent, its worst monthly performance since 2012, and marking Asia's performing index. - Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.62%, 92.53 points lower at 154.914.53 - Topix declined 20.28%, 3.45 points to close at 1,220.64 The rest of Asian markets ended modestly high, lifted by upbeat U.S. growth data helped calm markets roiled by anxiety over emerging economies Thursday`s data showed U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at a 3.2 percent annualized pace in the fourth quarter of 2013, to round out the biggest half-year increase since 2003. - New Zealand's NZX 50 rose 0.51% to close at 4,874.58 - The S&P/ASX 200 was 0.4% up at 5,190.00 - Taiwan TAIEX dropped 1.58% to end session at 8,462.57 - SE THAI gained 0.53% to 1,270.81 Volume across the region was lighter than usual today, with several countries, including Hong Kong and Singapore, observing the Lunar New Year holiday. Shanghai and South Korean markets were also closed and will resume trade next week.

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Source: Financial Markets

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