Tokyo – Shares are mixed, with benchmarks slipping in Europe after a day of gains in most Asian markets. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.2 percent to 22,893.06 following Cabinet approval of a budget plan that includes record defense outlays and an extra 2.9 trillion yen ($25.6 billion) in stimulus spending, AP reports.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX slipped less than 0.1 percent to 13,107.59 while the CAC 40 in France fell 0.1 percent to 5,382.36. The FTSE 100 in Britain gained 0.1 percent to 7,608.42. The Dow future contract gained 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures also were up 0.1 percent, auguring gains on Wall Street.
THE DAY IN ASIA: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.7 percent to 29,578.01 and the Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.4 percent to 2,440.54. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.1 percent to 3,297.06 and the S&P ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.2 percent to 6,069.70. India’s Sensex climbed 0.5 percent to 33,907.43. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.
ANALYST’S PERSPECTIVE: With markets closed for Christmas at the outset, “A week that contains little from the Western world may find seasonal factors taking the rein, particularly the likelihood of profit-taking as the quarter and the year come to an end,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
JAPAN DEFENSE SPENDING: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet on Friday approved a 5.2 trillion yen ($46 billion) defense budget to bolster ballistic missile defense capability amid escalating threats from North Korea. The proposed spending would be the sixth annual increase under Abe, who ended a decade of military budget cuts after taking office in 2012. It is part of a 97.7 trillion ($860 billion) national budget for 2018, also the biggest ever.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gave up 24 cents to $58.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 27 cents to settle at $58.36 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost 17 cents to $64.25 per barrel. It gained 34 cents to close at $64.90 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.40 Japanese yen from 113.33 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1851 from $1.1875.