Asian Stock Markets Mixed, Europe Mostly Higher Early Friday

Posted August 12th, 2011 at 4:55 am (UTC-5)
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Asian stock exchanges are in mixed territory Friday to end a week of roller coaster week of extreme gains and losses on markets around the world.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index lost nearly a quarter of a percent at Friday's closing bell, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index enjoyed a slight gain. Markets in Seoul, Shanghai and Wellington also finished on a high note.

In mid-morning trading in Europe, indexes in Britain and Germany are in positive territory, continuing the gains made from Thursday's rally, while France is virtually unchanged.

European and U.S. stock markets rose sharply Thursday as buyers drew encouragement from a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4 percent, after plummeting almost five percent the day before. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ also closed higher Thursday.

The closing numbers marked the latest in a series of global markets swings that saw markets plunge on Monday, rebound on Tuesday and slump again on Wednesday.

Analysts say stocks received a boost Thursday from a U.S. government report that said first-time claims for jobless benefits fell to a four-month low in the past week. Many investors interpreted that as good news for the U.S. economy, following an unprecedented downgrade of the U.S. sovereign debt rating last week. That downgrade triggered Monday's sell-off.

U.S. President Barack Obama said “wild swings” in stock markets were making many Americans nervous and affecting their savings. He attributed the volatility partly to factors beyond U.S. control, such as Europe's financial turmoil.

Mr. Obama also said partisan politics in Washington have hurt the U.S. ability to deal with such challenges.