Asian markets subdued amid week of holidays

Asian markets subdued amid week of holidays

Bangkok: Asian stock markets were mixed in subdued trading on Monday amid a week punctuated by holidays in Japan and other major regional markets.

The lackluster start in Asia came after Wall Street gave up most of its gains on Friday to close slightly higher. The initial rise was triggered by better-than-expected earnings from technology leaders Oracle Corp. and Research in Motion Ltd. but a lower oil price and a decline in a measure of consumer confidence kept a lid on buying.

This week investors are looking to a string of US housing reports as the latest gauge of the strength of recovery in the world’s No. 1 economy. Global markets have stabilized since late August as jitters about the US falling back into recession faded. Most analysts now think the US economy will continue to grow but probably not fast enough to make a significant dent in high unemployment anytime soon.

In Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite Index was down less than 0.1% at 2,597.54 and South Korea’s Kospi was off 0.3% at 1,821.95. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped less than 0.1% to 21,959.00.

Japan’s market was closed for a public holiday. It is closed for another holiday Thursday while markets in mainland China are closed Wednesday through Friday. Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines also have closures during the week.

Elsewhere in Asia, India’s Sensex was up 0.6% at 19,700.85 and Taiwan’s index added 0.4% to 8,8190.95. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.5% to 4,614.90

In the U.S. on Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.02, or 0.1%, to close at 10,607.85. The Dow is up 5.9% in the month to date, defying skeptics who predicted a decline in September, which is historically a weak one for stocks. It has risen in seven of the past eight days.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index inched up 0.93, or 0.1%, to 1,125.59, and the Nasdaq composite rose 12.36, or 0.5%, to 2,315.61.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was up 30 cents at $73.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 91 cents to settle at $73.66 on Friday.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 85.70 yen from ¥85.84 in New York late Friday. The euro rose to $1.3068 from $1.3054.