Asian stock markets mixed at open, STI up

SINGAPORE - Asian stock markets were mixed on Friday (Dec 2) morning as Japanese shares swung between gains and losses while technology companies slid.

Singapore shares opened higher, with the benchmark Straits Times Index at 2,932.1 in early trade, up 0.12 per cent, or 3.52 points. Around 65 million shares exchanged hands.

Noble Group shares were up after the company announced it had disposed off its energy unit in the United States. Marine sector shares continued their good showing on the second day after Opec announced cut in the oil glut, with Sembcorp Marine, Keppel, KrisEnergy all opening high.

Elsewhere in the region, Japan's Topix index was little changed after dropping as much as 0.3 per cent earlier, as the yen increased 0.3 per cent against the US dollar.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose to the highest level this year, though it is still down more than 3 per cent for the year.

South Korea's Kospi index fell 0.4 per cent. Data showed the economy expanded 2.6 per cent from a year in the third quarter, according to revised government data, from 2.7 per cent increase earlier, Bloomberg reported.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was 0.3 per cent lower while New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index was little changed.

Markets will be looking for Friday's non-farm payrolls data in the US, the last jobs report before the Federal Reserve meets this month, to support a case for tighter monetary policy.

Investors continue to parse through economic data for clues on the prospects for higher US interest rates.