| GEO Business|
| Asian stocks mixed, Europe opens higher|
| Updated at: 1942 PST, Saturday, October 17, 2009|
SEOUL: Asian stocks were mixed Friday, largely failing to follow through after the Dow Jones industrials closed above 10,000 points for a second day as a monthslong rally lost steam. European markets gained in early trading.
Movements in Asia were mostly muted, but Thailand's market rebounded after falling 7 percent over two days amid panic about the health of 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Oil prices rose above $78 a barrel.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average rose 18.91, or 0.2 percent, to close at 10,257.56. Gains were limited on concern over ballooning government debt and uncertainty over the restructuring of struggling Japan Airlines Corp.
Stocks in India rose 0.8 percent and Taiwan gained 0.1 percent while China's Shanghai index fell 0.1 percent and Singapore's market also shed 0.1 percent.
Among other losing bourses was Hong Kong where the Hang Seng index fell 69.18, or 0.3 percent, to close at 21,929.80. South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.1 percent and Australia's benchmark fell 0.5 percent.
Mark Tan, who helps manage the equivalent of about $10 billion of equities and bonds at UOB Asset Management in Singapore, said regional bourses were "taking a breather" for now, but were likely to resume gains on positive earnings and economic growth prospects.
"Asian markets have run up quite a bit," he said. "They will still continue to do well, but over the short term there is a bit of consolidation."
In early European trading, Britain's FTSE-100 rose 0.9 percent, Germany's DAX advanced 0.9 percent and France's CAC-40 gained 0.6 percent. U.S. futures pointed to modest gains Friday on Wall Street. Dow futures were up 21, or 0.2 percent, at 9,985.
Thailand's benchmark was up 2.6 percent. The previous day it closed down 5.3 percent after tumbling more than 8 percent as the king's lengthy hospitalization raised fears of a power vacuum in this divided Asian nation.
"We believe that, over the coming weeks, panic will give way to sober evaluation of the real risks," Credit Suisse analysts said in a report." Although Thailand is an inherently risky place, it is no riskier today than it was two days ago before the panic."
In New York on Thursday, the Dow rose 47.08, or 0.5 percent, to 10,062.94, its highest close since Oct. 3 last year and second straight finish above 10,000. Broader indices also gained.
U.S. stocks gained as a rise in the price of crude oil boosted energy shares and economic data showing that the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment insurance fell to its lowest level since January. That helped to offset disappointment about Citigroup's earnings.
Oil prices continued a weeklong rally, jumping above $78 a barrel, after U.S. gasoline inventories unexpectedly fell.
Benchmark crude for November delivery rose as much as 59 cents to $78.17 before slipping to just below $78. The contract rose $2.40 to settle at $77.58 on Thursday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.4909 from $1.4942. The dollar rose to 91.03 yen from 90.56 yen.