Asian shares lower after Wall Street falls over oil concerns

Asian shares were mostly lower Wednesday, after the steepest drop in oil prices in more than three years put investors in a selling mood on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan‘s benchmark Nikkei 225 inched up 0.2 percent to finish at 21,846.48, while Australia‘s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.7 percent to 5,732.80. South Korea’s Kospi edged down 0.4 percent at 2,063.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent to 25,659.21, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.9 percent at 2,631.99. Shares were also lower in Thailand and Singapore.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index fell 4.04 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,722.18 on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 100.69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,286.49, half of which was attributable to a drop in Boeing. The Nasdaq composite was little changed at 7,200.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 3.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,514.80.

TRADE WORRIES: Fears about global growth continue amid trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Traders drew encouragement from a report out of China saying that country’s top economic adviser might visit Washington ahead of a planned meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump at this month’s Group of 20 gathering in Argentina. The U.S. and China have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods.

THE QUOTE: “It’s going to be a bumpy ride for markets,” said Stephen Innes of Oanda in Singapore, referring to global developments over Brexit and dropping oil prices, adding, “all of which suggests significant risk beckons.”

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil dipped 35 cents to $55.34. It plunged 7.1 percent to $55.69 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 25 cents to $65.22 a barrel. Oil has now fallen for 12 straight days, driven by worries over rising oil production around the world and weakening demand from developing countries, with expectations for increased supply from the U.S. and OPEC.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.88 yen from 114.01 late Tuesday in Asia. The euro strengthened to $1.1294 from $1.1252.


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