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U.S. markets closed higher on Thursday on mixed U.S. data, reversing early losses in the late afternoon on rising oil-prices and a rally in Apple and Boeing shares lend further support. Initial jobless claims in the week ending January 24 in the U.S. fell by 43,000 to 265,000 from 308,000 in the previous week. Pending home sales in the U.S. declined 3.7% in December, missing expectations for a 0.6% increase, after a 0.6% gain in November. November's figure was revised down from a 0.8% rise. That was the biggest monthly decrease since December 2013. Today market participants await a set of U.S. data including the GDP for the fourth quarter, the Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index and the Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment.
The DOW JONES index added +1.31%, closing at 17,416.85 points. The S&P 500 rose by +0.95% with a final quote of 2,021.25 points
Chinese stock markets traded lower on Friday. Yesterday Chinese regulators launched inspections into brokerages that allow margin trading as concerns rise that markets are becoming over-leveraged. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading -0.48% at 24,478.94 points. China's Shanghai Composite closed at 3,211.67 points -1.55%.
Japan's Nikkei posted gains on Friday on strong corporate results that buoyed sentiment, closing +0.39% with a final quote of 17,674.39. SoftBank Corp, an index-heavyweight, limited gains. The bank is a major stakeholder in Alibaba that reported lower-than-expected revenues. For the week the index added +0.9%, ending the month with a gain of 1.3%. The Japanese Unemployment Rate declined for the month of December to 3.4%. The Tokyo Consumer Price Index rose to +2.3% with a previous reading of +2.1%. Household Spending decreased by -3.4%, analysts expected a decline by -2.5%. The National CPI was unchanged at +2.4%, ex fresh food CPI rose by 2.5%, less than the expected 2.6%. Industrial Production for December rose by +1.0% in December compared to -0.6% in November, not meeting forecasts of +1.3%. Housing starts shrank by -14.7% for a 10th straight year-on-year decline.
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