Global stock quiet as most Asian markets closed for holidays

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TOKYO (AP) — Global stocks appeared set for quiet and lower trading Friday after most markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year holidays, except for Tokyo, where shares continued to rise on optimism about the Japanese economy.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent to 4,820.34 in early trading, while Britain's FTSE 100 was little changed in early trading, inching down 0.03 percent to 6,886.55. Germany's DAX slipped 0.2 percent to 10,976.63. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.1 percent at 17,946. S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1 percent to 2,092.70.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent to close at 18,332.30, building on the upbeat mood that marked the previous day, when it closed at a nearly 15-year high. Japan has been pushing ahead with export-encouraging policies such as the cheap yen. Toyota was up 1.0 percent. Softbank gained 0.3 percent, and Canon added 0.4 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.4 percent to 5,881.50. Other regional markets were closed for the holidays.

GREECE CONCERN: Greece was headed to another round of negotiations for a bailout settlement for its debt crisis, but opposition was coming from lead lender Germany. "Considering as markets are of the belief that Greece is likely to receive confirmation of its loan extension today, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of euphoric trading," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 35 cents to $52.18 in electronics trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 3 cents to $60.24 in London.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar fell to 118.69 yen from 119.04 yen the previous session, while the euro fell to $1.1333 from $1.1368.