Asian stock markets mostly higher but gains tempered by mixed session on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Friday but gains were tempered by a mixed Wall Street session and unimpressive U.S. economic indicators.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was up 71.06 points, or 0.8 percent, at 9,580.56. Japanese exporter stocks have moved higher since Tokyo intervened in currency markets to cap the yen's rise earlier this week.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.1 percent to 1814.38, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 21,760.12 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 4,625.00.

Shares in Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand also floated higher while the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.2 percent to 2,598.17.

The gains in Asia came despite mixed trade in New York, as investors sold shares after the recent rally.

News that FedEx, which is seen as a bellwether for the U.S. economy, would cut 1,700 jobs to try to fix its domestic trucking business, also weighed on shares.

Figures showing that the number of newly laid-off workers seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped by 3,000 last week to 450,000 — its lowest level in two months — failed to drive stock markets, though it may be a sign that labor market conditions are improving.

And though the monthly survey of manufacturing conditions in the mid-Atlantic from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia improved, it still points to a decline in output. The so-called Philly Fed index improved to minus 0.7 in September from August's minus 7.7.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.10, or 0.2 percent, to close at 10,594.83. The Dow has now risen in 10 of the last 12 days, but it's still 5.5 percent below its 2010 closing high level reached on April 26.

Broader indexes were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.4, or 0.04 percent, to 1,124.66. The Nasdaq composite edged up 1.93, or 0.08 percent, to 2,303.25.

In currencies, the dollar slipped to 85.65 yen from 85.78 yen late Thursday, while the euro ticked up to $1.3080 from $1.3068.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was up 5 cents at $74.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.45 to settle at $74.57 a barrel on Thursday.