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January 6, 2010 > Asian markets close out 2009 on high note

Asian markets close out 2009 on high note

Submitted By AP Wire Service

BANGKOK (AP), Dec 31 _ Asian stock markets added to a year of big gains in the final day of trading for 2009. European shares were mostly higher early on.

Trade was quiet Thursday in Asia, with several markets already shut, as most of the region's bourses closed out the year rising about 0.5 percent or more. The dollar was lower against the yen and euro, and crude oil prices neared $80 a barrel.

The advance came after Wall Street finished a touch higher, drawing support from an economic report showing manufacturing in the country's Midwest region grew for a third consecutive month. The report found that production and new orders increased and employment improved.

The past 12 months saw massive gains across Asia, among the world's fast-growing regions and at the forefront of this year's global equities run.

China's Shanghai index ended the year up 80 percent, Indonesia's main index rocketed 87 percent and a host of other markets gained 50 percent or more. Only Japan underwhelmed among the region's major bourses. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average added 19 percent for 2009.

In Hong Kong Thursday, the Hang Seng gained 375.88 points, or 1.8 percent, to 21,872.50 and Australia's main benchmark rose 0.8 percent.

Shanghai's key index was up 0.5 percent, or 14.54 points, to 3,277.14. Elsewhere, India's benchmark climbed 0.7 percent and Taiwan rose 0.9 percent.

Markets in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines were closed for public holidays.

As trading got underway in Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.4 percent and France's CAC-40 advanced 0.3 percent while Germany's DAX lost 0.9 percent. Stock futures pointed to modest gains of less than 0.5 percent in Wall Street's last session of the year.

Wednesday in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average ticked up 3.10, or less than 0.1 percent, to 10,548.51, its highest close since Oct. 1, 2008.

With one trading day left in the year, the Dow is up 61.1 percent from the 12-year low it reached in March, but is still down 25.5 from its peak of 14,164.53 in October 2007.

The S&P 500 index edged up 0.22, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,126.42, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 2.88, or 0.1 percent, to 2,291.28.

Oil prices headed toward $80 a barrel in Asia, with benchmark crude for February delivery up 48 cents at $79.76 a barrel. The contract added 41 cents to settle at $79.28 on Wednesday.

The dollar fell to 92.29 yen from 92.44 yen. The euro was higher at $1.4411 from $1.4340.

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