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Asia: Stocks mixed, euro rebounds, bitcoin recovers

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[TOKYO] Asian stocks were mixed in trading thinned by year-end holidays. Japanese benchmarks slipped from the highest levels since the early 1990s, while China's currency reached its strongest since September.

US equity-index futures opened little changed in their first trading this week. Taiwanese stocks underperformed as suppliers to Apple Inc in wake of analysts marking down their iPhone X sales estimates. Australia and Hong Kong markets remained shut Tuesday.

The euro was trading little changed against the US dollar, and at similar levels to the end of last week, after briefly sliding on Monday. Dramatic moves have occurred in recent years in the currency and other markets at times of low liquidity, when automated trading programs can sometimes be a contributing factor.

Bitcoin jumped about 11 per cent to US$15,249, after declining for most of the past week since reaching a record high above US$19,000. The tumble had coincided with several warnings from financial authorities about elevated risk in holding digital coins.

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Oil was trading above US$58 a barrel, while commodities traded in China ticked lower on inventory-buildup concerns.

Among the events in focus for investors this week: US consumer confidence, home prices and trade data are on tap.

Vietnam, which has been averaging around 6 per cent growth, reports fourth-quarter GDP.

Italy's parliament is expected to be dissolved ahead of elections in 2018.

STOCKS

The Topix index of Japanese stocks fellĀ 0.3 per cent at the close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 0.2 per cent. Investors had little reaction to Japanese data showing a drop in unemployment and slight acceleration in inflation.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed after the underlying gauge advanced for a fifth week last week.

China's Shanghai Composite index was up 0.4 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index slid 0.3 per cent, while Taiwan's Taiex dropped one per cent.

CURRENCIES

The euro was little changed at US$1.1869. The British pound was little changed at $1.3373. The Japanese yen was little changed at 113.29 per US dollar.

The People's Bank of China raised the yuan fixing by 0.21 per cent, to 6.5683 per dollar, the strongest since Sept 20.

BONDS

Ten-year US Treasury yields were at 2.49 per cent, around the highest since March.

COMMODITIES

West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at US$58.51 a barrel.

Gold rose 0.4 per cent US$1,278.65 an ounce.

Iron ore futures traded in Dalian, China, were down 3.9 per cent.

Aluminum futures traded in Shanghai fell 1.7 per cent.

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