Dollar remains weak and Tokyo stocks hit

The dollar remained weak and a strong yen depressed Tokyo stocks in thin Good Friday trading, with many major markets closed throughout Asia.
Gold stood at near record levels of about $1,504 an ounce after clearing $1,508.75 on Thursday as investors moved toward assets less reliant on the U.S. economy.

Oil prices also remained high, with the weaker dollar attracting more buying. U.S. Crude oil futures ended higher for the third straight day on Thursday and Brent crude stood at just over $124 a barrel.

Japan’s Nikkei share average (.N225) edged down by 0.47 percent by 9:15 p.m. EDT as exporters came under pressure from the stronger yen, triggering profit-taking after sharp increases over the past two days. In Seoul, one of the other few Asian markets operating, the Korea composite Stock Price Index (.KS11) nudged up 0.11 percent.

The U.S. currency was trading at 81.75 yen after initially tumbling to about 81.89. The dollar has been tumbling this week after a warning by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on the U.S. debt load as the economy showed signs of slowing.

But equities markets have been largely unaffected by S&P’s warning. Wall Street posted its first positive week in three and the FTSEEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended up 0.4 percent on Thursday. (.N) (.EU)

U.S. Financial markets are closed on Friday and British markets remain closed on both Friday and Monday.