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Asia stocks muted in holiday-thinned trading

A Tokyo Stock Exchange employee works at a computer terminal in Tokyo, Friday, April 6, 2012. Asian stock markets were muted Friday in holiday-thinned trade ahead of a monthly U.S. hiring report. A Tokyo Stock Exchange employee works at a computer terminal in Tokyo, Friday, April 6, 2012. Asian stock markets were muted Friday in holiday-thinned trade ahead of a monthly U.S. hiring report. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
April 6, 2012
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BANGKOK—Asian stock markets were muted Friday in holiday-thinned trade ahead of a monthly U.S. hiring report.

The payrolls report for March will be watched for further confirmation of a recovery in the world's biggest economy but market reaction will be largely delayed until Monday because of the Easter long weekend.

U.S. stock markets are closed Friday and much of Europe is also on holiday. In Asia, markets are closed in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines. Oil trading is also suspended on Good Friday.

If the payrolls report shows private employers continuing to step up hiring it could underpin positive sentiment in markets for a week or more. U.S. indicators have recently provided one of the few signs of strength for the global economy as China's growth wanes and Europe stagnates amid austerity and high government debt.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed down 0.8 percent at 9,688.45 while South Korea's Kopsi was almost unchanged at 2,029.03.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 percent to 2,306.55 and Taiwan's benchmark climbed 0.9 percent to 7,706.26.

In currencies, the euro was 0.1 percent higher at $1.3070. The dollar was up 0.1 percent at 82.37 yen.

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