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Asian markets mixed, with Tokyo reaching 6-year high

BEIJING/HONG KONG--Asian shares were mixed Thursday with Tokyo extending its gains following a record close on Wall Street in pre-holiday trade, while the dollar rose to a five-year high against the yen.

Tokyo closed up 1.03 percent, or 164.45 points, at 16,174.44, the best finish since November 2007. Seoul slid 0.11 percent, or 2.29 points, to 1,999.30.

Financial markets in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand were closed for a public holiday. In Europe, exchanges in Paris, London and Frankfurt also were closed.

Chinese shares ended down more than one percent on Thursday as the absence of a further liquidity injection by the central bank hurt sentiment, dealers said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.58 percent, or 33.25 points, to 2,073.10 on turnover of 66.8 billion yuan (US$11.0 billion).

Worries over a liquidity shortage resurfaced as the People's Bank of China did not conduct its regular open-market operations on Thursday to inject funds into the interbank market, analysts said.

“Fundamentally, it highlights investor pessimism about the stock market. They want to sell stocks before liquidity conditions worsen again,” Everbright Securities analyst Zeng Xianzhao told Dow Jones Newswires.

Coal miners were lower on reports that China may levy a coal resource tax on producers from early January.

Shanxi Lu'an Environmental Energy Development dropped 4.93 percent to 10.22 yuan while Yangquan Coal Industry Group fell 4.47 percent to 7.05 yuan.

Automakers fell on worries that more cities might impose restrictions on car purchases to ease air pollution and traffic congestion.

Liaoning SG Automotive lost 5.04 percent to 4.33 yuan while SAIC Motor fell 3.11 percent to 13.38 yuan.

On Tuesday U.S. stocks closed at a new all-time high before the Christmas break, following solid reports on durable goods and new home sales.

The news followed a recent run of figures showing a pick-up in the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve announcement that it would from next month reduce its stimulus program by US$10 billion to US$75 billion a month.

Gold fetched US$1,205.50 at 1040 GMT compared with US$1,195.04 late Monday.

In other markets:

— Mumbai rose 0.20 percent or 41.88 points to 21,074.59 points.

Private Gintanjali Gems jumped 17.06 percent to 67.25 rupees while wind energy giant Suzlon rose 9.07 percent to 10.94 rupees.

— Bangkok lost 1.80 percent or 23.99 points to 1,308.46 after violent political clashes in the Thai capital.

Coal producer Banpu dropped 4.72 percent to 30.25 baht, while Airports of Thailand fell 4.53 percent to 158.00 baht.

— Singapore closed up 0.23 percent, or 7.07 points, at 3,134.36.

DBS Bank rose 0.42 percent to SG$16.91 while food and beverage distributor Fraser and Neave gained 3.85 percent to SG$6.20.

— Kuala Lumpur jumped 0.47 percent, or 8.61 points, to 1,846.49.

Felda Global Ventures ended 2.8 percent higher at 4.49 ringgit while Petronas Dagangan was up 1.3 percent to 30.80. British American Tobacco shed 0.8 percent to 63.50 ringgit.

— Manila gained 0.4 percent, or 23.44 points, to 5,878.32.

Ayala Land Inc. gained 1.44 percent to 24.65 pesos while Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. rose 0.07 percent to 75.15 pesos.

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An investor gestures in front of the stock price monitor at a private securities company in Shanghai, China on Thursday, Dec. 26. Asian markets were mixed Thursday as trading resumed in some countries following the Christmas break. (AP)

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