Japanese Stocks Fall Friday

Japanese government passed its record net fiscal year budget of $1 trillion. The budget will lower spending on construction projects and provide more assistance to families and increase spending on education. Unemployment rate increased in November to 5.2% and consumer prices decreased 1.7%.

The Japanese government passed on Friday next fiscal year budget that focus more on families and less on building projects. The Ґ 9.3 trillion or $1 trillion record budget has many populist measures to fulfill the election promises of Prime Minister Yukio Hatomaya.

The government is struggling to increase jobs, restrain government borrowing and support the job market. The budget does not lower the highway tolls and gasoline taxes as promised during the recent elections.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average in Tokyo closed lower 42.21 or 0.40% to 10,494.71 as most of the world financial markets were closed.

Unemployment rate in November increased to 5.2% from 5.1% in October, according to the latest data from the statistics office in Japan. The decline in employment rate has slowed but the economic recovery is uneven and protracted, Ticker Magazine reports.

It was also reported, Japanese stocks fell Friday, a day when nearly every other global market was closed, as exporters like Toyota Motor and Canon succumbed to profit-taking after leading the market's recent rally.

Trading volume was down sharply due to the Christmas holiday.

The Nikkei Stock Average fell 42.21 points, or 0.4%, to 10494.71, snapping a three-day winning streak over which the index had added 3.7%. Activity was anemic at only about 1.2 billion shares, the lowest level for a full trading day in 2009.

"The market gained quite sharply recently, so it was time for a break," said Daiwa Securities SMBC market analyst Yumi Nishimura.

The dollar's firmness against the yen limited the market's downside, however. The lack of profit-taking pressure suggests that some of the buying over the past three sessions may have originated from domestic pensions and other long-only funds, as opposed to shorter-term investors, said Traders Securities manager Tamotsu Numazaki, The Wall Street Journal reports.

For the week, the Nikkei notched a gain of 3.5%, and is up 12% for December. Year-to-date, stocks remain up 18%.

In Shanghai, Chinese stocks ended mixed Friday on concerns about new share sales that drained market liquidity. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slipped 12.06 points, or 0.4%, to close at 3141.35, ending the week up by 0.9%.

In Taipei, Taiwan stocks had a small gain. The main index finished at 7972.59, up 0.11%, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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