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Asian markets mixed; Tokyo hit by Softbank loss

Published on Oct 12, 2012 4:51 PM

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian markets were mixed on Friday, as earlier gains from promising US jobs figures and hopes for upcoming Chinese economic data were offset by concerns over the global economy.

Japanese shares were also hit by a plunge in telecom giant Softbank after it emerged it was eyeing a near US$13 billion (S$16.1 billion) deal to buy Sprint Nextel of the United States, in what would be one of Japan's biggest ever overseas deals.

Tokyo closed 0.15 per cent lower at 8,534.12, Sydney was flat and Seoul was also almost unchanged. Hong Kong added 0.65 per cent, to 21,136.43 and Shanghai gained 0.1 per cent to close at 2,104.94.

Hopes for the US economy were given a boost on Thursday when the Labour Department said insurance benefits plunged unexpectedly last week to the lowest level since February 2008. New jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, came in at 339,000 in the week to Oct 6, far below the previous week's 369,000 and the then four-week average of 375,500. Those figures come on top of data last week showing the unemployment rate had fallen to 7.8 per cent in September.

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