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Tokyo: Stocks open flat

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Tokyo stocks opened flat on Friday as other major bourses were closed for Christmas.

[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened flat on Friday as other major bourses were closed for Christmas.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was at 17,799.49, down 0.05 per cent, or 9.26 points, in the first minutes of trading.

Currency rates were fluctuating only narrowly after a barrage of Japanese data showed the fragile nature of the recovery of the world's third-largest economy.

The dollar was at 120.36 yen early Friday, compared with 120.14 in Asian trade Thursday, while the euro bought US$1.2209 and 146.94 yen, against US$1.2216 and 146.78 yen.

The Nikkei may rise as the Japanese economy is on the mend on the back of lower oil prices and a strong US economy, said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of the equity division at SMBC Nikko Securities.

"Today is effectively the first trading day for 2015," he said. "I'm anticipating stocks to rebound after struggling sometime." Japan's industrial output in November suffered a surprise drop in November, turning down after two months of rises, official data released 10 minutes before the opening bell showed.

Meanwhile Japanese core consumer inflation continued to slow in November, data showed, despite efforts by the government and central bank to make a clear break from deflation.

European and US stocks markets were closed Thursday for the Christmas holiday, while financial markets in Hong Kong and Australia were among those in Asia closed on Friday.

AFP