The Nikkei saw a bright day after being trapped in tight range, as investors stayed cautious ahead of key U.S.jobs data, while a drop in commodity prices was offset by a strong performance in Chinese equities.The Nikkei 225 gained 11.28 points at 10,541.04 The S&P 500 Index and other indexes in US saw a dull day after a court ruling in a key foreclosure case prompted investors to pull out of bank stocks, adding to weakness after a lackluster jobs report.Nick Kalivas, senior
equity index analyst at MF Global in Chicago said: "Financials have really been a leader in the market in recent weeks -- this could close that sector out."
Oil prices were down in volatile trade as the stronger dollar and a stock market slide erased earlier gains, and crude started the year with a weekly loss. A stronger dollar typically pressures dollar-denominated oil prices because it raises the value of currency paid producers and makes oil more expensive for consumers with other currencies.Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch & Associates in Galena, Illinois said: "The monthly employment report provided today's main feature but interpretation of the numbers was mixed and the equities came under pressure as the session progressed. This risk aversion was further facilitated by (near) four-month lows in the euro."
The euro slumped against the US dollar, but more losses are seen likely if upcoming key jobs data proves stronger than expected. Positive data has painted a rosier picture of the US economic outlook in stark contrast to worries about the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.C.J. Gavsie, managing director of FX sales at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. said: "There's a strong consensus that there will be some good numbers coming out of the after that ADP report, and expectation of a huge payrolls number is fueling all sorts of dollar buying."
Gold fell as disappointing US job growth failed to revive safe-haven demand following a raft of strong economic data, and bullion notched its biggest weekly decline since May. Brian Hicks, co-manager of Global Resources Fund said: "Money is moving out of bonds and gold into the broader equity market as investors are willing to take on more risks thinking that economic conditions have improved."
The FTSE , CAC and DAX closed on a negative note as there were worries about the euro zone intensified ahead of debt auctions next week, and US data showed far fewer jobs were created in December than forecast. Sentiment on the sector was also affected by bank shares leading Wall Street lower on Friday after a court ruling voided foreclosures on two homes, which may cause sales of other foreclosed properties to be invalidated.Arnaud Scarpaci, fund manager at Agilis Gestion, in Paris said: "The rising yields at debt auctions in the euro zone will continue to spook investors, and it's best to stay away from peripheral stocks such as Spanish and Portuguese banks until mid-year when the crisis should ease. For now, the safe bets are the main benchmarks such as the DAX and CAC, and the international exposure, with a little preference for the CAC because it has been lagging.

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B Satya Kishore
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