TOKYO – Tokyo shares posted mild losses Thursday as ongoing concerns about protests in Egypt and a sluggish day on Wall Street dragged sentiment.
Trading was also muted because of the Lunar New Year holidays. Most Asian financial markets were closed, including South Korea, Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore.
The Nikkei 225 stock average fell 0.2 percent to 10,432.78 after surging almost 2 percent the previous day.
Investors punished shares of companies releasing disappointing earnings.
Electronics giant Panasonic Corp. tumbled 3 percent after reporting that its October-December operating profit fell for the first time in five quarters. Ricoh Co., which makes cameras and office equipment, shed 9.9 percent. It said after market close Wednesday that its quarterly operating profit fell by a third from the previous year.
Among gainers, Sony Corp. rose 0.9 percent ahead of its earnings report later in the day.
Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.4 percent to 4,817.60, and New Zealand's benchmark added 0.1 percent to 3,356.25.
Australian insurers jumped amid relief that Cyclone Yasi — among the most powerful storms to ever hit the country — appeared to have caused less destruction along the northeast coast than anticipated. Insurance Australia Group Ltd. rose 3 percent, while Suncorp Group Ltd. was up 2.6 percent.
In New York on Wednesday, stocks finished mixed as investors weighed the impact of unrest in Egypt against better-than-expected news on the job market.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.81 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to close at 12,041.97.
U.S. payroll processor ADP said that private companies added more jobs in January than analysts predicted. That's a hopeful sign for the Labor Department's monthly employment report, due out Friday.
Still, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3.56 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,304.03. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.63 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,749.56.
In currencies, the dollar slipped to 81.61 yen from 81.63 yen late Wednesday. The euro stood at $1.3808 from $1.3798.
Oil prices rose above $91 a barrel amid mixed U.S. crude and gasoline supply data and the anti-government clashes in Egypt.