Stocks edge up, oil slumps ahead of OPEC decision; Wall Street closed for Thanksgiving

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A man cycles past an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. sian shares were mostly higher Thursday on hopes for more stimulus in China. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.3 percent to 17,333.52. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)


People are reflected on an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. Asian shares were mostly higher Thursday on hopes for more stimulus in China. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.3 percent to 17,333.52. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)


TOKYO — Share prices drifted higher on Thursday, with trading subdued due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The price of oil slumped, however, on expectations that OPEC would not cut production to support the market.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to 6,738.68 and France's CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent at 4,380.41. Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent to 9,962.36. U.S. markets will remain closed for the holiday.

STIMULUS HOPES: Mainland Chinese investors appeared to shrug off data showing weaker industrial profits. Interest rate cuts last week by the Chinese central bank raised hopes Beijing will do more to prevent growth from dropping below 7 percent. In Europe, investors are also expecting more stimulus from the European Central Bank. Its president, Mario Draghi, has recently signaled the bank is willing to do more.

THE QUOTE: "Equities continue to consolidate recent gains ... with some optimism we'll see further action from key central banks," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia. "While Fed policy expectation continues to pop up every time U.S. data shows signs of faltering, the spotlight at the moment certainly seems to be on the ECB and the PBoC."

ASIA'S DAY: South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 1,982.09 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent to 5,400.90. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.5 percent to 24,004.28 and Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8 percent to 17,248.50. China's Shanghai Composite gained 1 percent to 2,630.49. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

OPEC MEETING: Comments by Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi dimmed expectations that OPEC might decide Thursday to cut its output ceiling. A 32 percent drop in prices since late June is hurting poorer members of the oil cartel. But heavyweight Saudi Arabia seems willing to tolerate lower prices because they can hurt U.S. shale oil producers, rivals to OPEC who have flooded the market this year.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude was down $1.30 to $72.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed Wednesday at $73.69, down 40 cents from the day before.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged lower to 117.48 yen from 117.63 yen late Wednesday. The euro slipped to $1.2489 from $1.2507.

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