The FINANCIAL - Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend

Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend

Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend

The FINANCIAL -- Asian stock markets are exhibiting a mixed trend on December 28 in the absence of fresh cues as U.S. and European markets were closed on Friday for the Christmas Day holiday. Trading continued to be thin in Asia amid the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Crude oil prices remained steady in early Asian trades, according to Nasdaq.

The Japanese stock market is up with modest gains as Investors went bargain hunting following the benchmark Nikkei index's five straight days of losses through December 25.

Meanwhile, industrial production data showing that Japan's industrial output declined for the first time in three months raised expectations for further stimulus measures by the Bank of Japan.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic is gaining almost 4 percent, while Canon is down almost 2 percent and Casio Computer is losing 0.5 percent.

Sharp is rising more than 9 percent after media reports indicated that Taiwan'sHon Hai Precision Industry or Foxconn has offered to buy the struggling display maker for about 300 billion yen, or $2.5 billion.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent, while SoftBank is adding almost 2 percent. Automaker Toyota is up 0.2 percent.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is advancing 0.8 percent, Mizuho Financial Group is adding 0.7 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Oki Electric Industry is gaining more than 4 percent. Unitika is rising almost 4 percent and IHI Corp. is gaining more than 3 percent.

Meanwhile, J Front Retailing is losing more than 3 percent and is down 2.7 percent.Marui Group

On the economic front, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in Monday's preliminary reading that industrial production in Japan was down a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent on month in November, falling for the first time in three months. That missed forecasts for a decline of 0.5 percent following the 1.4 percent gain in October.

Also on December 28, the METI said that the total value of retail sales in Japan was down 1.0 percent on year in November. That missed forecasts for a decline of 0.1 percent following the 1.8 percent increase in October.

In the currency market, the US dollar is in the lower 120-yen range December 28, down slightly from Friday's close in Tokyo.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan are marginally higher, while Shanghai, South Korea, Hong Kong and Indonesia are down with modest losses.

The markets in New Zealand and Australia are closed in observance of Boxing Day, and will re-open on December 29.

The U.S. and European markets were closed on December 25 for the Christmas Day holiday.

Crude oil futures declined slightly in early Asian trades on December 28, down $0.25 or 0.6 percent to $37.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.