*Hopes for U.S. economic recovery, softer yen seen lifting index. *Market expects rising corporate profits. TOKYO, Dec 12- A weaker yen is forecast to help boost corporate earnings and drive Japan's Nikkei to double-digit gains next year, a Reuters poll found on Thursday.» Read More
Asian closed mixed, with some boosted by resources companies such as BHP Billiton as oil and commodities prices firmed. But Tokyo closed down, staying on course to end the year as the world's worst performing major stock market.
Asian stocks were mostly higher in the afternoon session Wednesday. Trade was thin as many investors were away for Christmas holidays. Japan closed higher be South Korea declined. Other Asian markets including Australia and Hong Kong were shut, and many markets in Europe will also be closed.
Japanese stocks closed at their highest in nearly two weeks Tuesday as investors picked up recently pressured shares such as Sony, encouraged by a softening yen and after news from Merrill Lynch prompted a rally on Wall Street.
Asian markets rallied on the Christmas Eve Monday, lifted by technology and bank stocks as stronger-than-expected U.S. consumer spending calmed fears the world's top economy was heading into a recession.
Asian markets closed higher across the board Friday, having got a lift from technology stocks and year-end program buying by funds. Most of the major indexes finished over 1 percent higher, while the Hang Seng gained 2.3 percent.
Asian markets closed mixed Thursday with Australia slipping into the red after initially rising in the morning and South Korea paring back gains to trade flat. But Chinese shares managed to move higher with property stocks on the advance.
Asian stocks were mixed in the afternoon session Wednesday, as markets failed to sustain an earlier recovery. Japan shed 1 percent despite spending most of the session in positive territory. Australia also closed lower.
Asian stocks seesawed in volatile trade Tuesday with financial counters and exporters taking a roller-coaster ride. Japan closed slightly lower though the market was well over 1 percent lower at one point. South Korea finished the session up 1.2 percent.
Asian markets were sharply lower at the end of trading Monday, with most of the benchmark indexes over 3 percent down at the close. Financial stocks sank as rising U.S. inflation lessened expectations for rate cuts in the world's biggest economy.
A credit ratings downgrade for U.S. banking giant Citigroup sent Asian financial stocks lower Friday, while the yen sagged after Japanese business sentiment dropped to two-year lows.
Skepticism about plans by major central banks to tackle tight credit conditions kept Asian stocks subdued Thursday, with all of the benchmark indexes marking a loss for the day.
Asian markets closed mostly lower Tuesday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to cut interest rates failed to shore-up investor confidence. South Korean and Australian markets managed to finish slightly higher, however.
Asian markets ended firmly in the green Tuesday in the run up to an interest-rate decision in the U.S. and following a Wall Street rally Monday as credit concerns eased.
Asian markets ended mostly lower Monday as caution prevailed ahead of a U.S. central bank policy meeting due early this week. Japan closed a touch lower, but South Korea shed almost 1.4 percent.
Asian markets finished mostly higher Friday, as worries about a U.S. recession eased after American President George W. Bush unveiled plans aimed at stemming U.S. home-loan foreclosures. Japan closed at a four-week high, but Hong Kong and South Korea finished firmly in the red.
Asian markets closed mostly higher Thursday, as investors were cheered by upbeat U.S. data. Australia, South Korea and Japan all finished higher, but Singapore and China slipped into the red.
Asian markets closed in positive territory Wednesday, with the exception of Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index, despite growing fears the U.S. economy might slip into recession. Both South Korea and Japan closed higher after spending most of the morning in negative territory.
Asian markets finished mixed Tuesday as investors fretted over the health of the U.S. economy. Japan closed almost 1 percent lower, but South Korea and China made gains of almost 1 percent.
Asian stock markets took a breather Monday and were largely unchanged from Friday's close, after posting their best weekly gain in more than three months last week. Japan and South Korea both closed a touch lower.
Asian markets closed mostly higher Friday after comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke raised hopes for an interest-rate cut in December, but China's Shanghai Composite Index ended sharply lower as PetroChina and financial stocks fell.