Asian shares mixed, Nikkei down on profit-taking

Asian shares mixed, Nikkei down on profit-taking

HONG KONG - Asian markets were mixed on Friday, with Japanese investors cashing in after the Nikkei ended at a near six-year high, sending the index lower despite upbeat data showing a strong rise in inflation.

The yen edged down against the dollar, and against the euro sat at lows not seen since the beginning of the financial crisis after official figures showed Japanese inflation at a more than 15-year high.

However, there were few catalysts to drive trade, with Wall Street closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Tokyo fell 0.41 per cent, or 65.25 points, to 15,661.87 after closing Thursday at its highest level since mid-December 2007 thanks to a weakening yen and record closes in New York.

Seoul was flat, dipping 0.90 points to 2,044.87, while Sydney gave up 0.27 per cent, or 14.3 points to close at 5,320.0.

Shanghai finished flat, edging up 1.13 points to 2,220.50 while Hong Kong was up 0.29 per cent in the afternoon.

While investors in Japan took their cash off the table after the week's rally, the yen provided support as the upbeat global sentiment provided incentives to move higher yielding, riskier currencies such as the euro.

The Nikkei's losses came despite inflation data showing prices in Japan rose 0.3 per cent month on month in October - their fastest pace since August 1998 and boosting hopes that a drive by the government and Bank of Japan to end deflation is working.

In early trade the single currency bought 139.30 yen (S$1.71) - close to its highest since October 2008 - compared with 139.05 yen (S$1.71). It also sat at $1.3611 (S$1.71) against $1.3601 (S$1.71).

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