Asian stocks mostly higher in quiet holiday trading

SEOUL, South Korea, Jumada II 16, 1437, Mar 25, 2016, SPA — The few Asian stock markets that were trading Friday mostly advanced, with shares in Tokyo and Shanghai up and Seoul stocks slightly lower, AP reported.
Financial markets in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and India were closed for the Good Friday holiday.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent to 17,002.75. South Korea’s Kospi edged down 0.1 percent at 1,983.81. China’s Shanghai Composite Index traded 0.6 percent higher at 2,979.50.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday at an annual forum in China that the country will maintain medium-high growth and it has many tools to turn the economy around. Chinese leaders have set an economic growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent for this year.
The U.S. stock market closed nearly unchanged on Thursday in very light trading ahead of the Easter holiday weekend. The Dow rose 0.1 percent to 17,515.73. The S&P 500 index slipped 0.04 percent to 2,035.94. The Nasdaq added 0.1 percent to 4,773.50.
The dollar rose after some Fed bank presidents earlier this week made public comments that suggested the pace of rate hikes might not be slowed after all. The dollar strengthened to 112.95 yen from 112.79 yen. The euro fell to $1.1164 from $1.1180.
Due to the Good Friday holiday, there were no settlements for crude oil futures. On Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude fell 33 cents, or 0.8 percent, to close at $39.46 a barrel in New York. Oil prices closed lower again as concerns over excess supplies returned following the latest U.S. stockpiles data. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, added 1 cent to $40.45 a barrel in London.

10:43 LOCAL TIME 07:43 GMT