Asia stocks uneven as commodities languish

Asia stocks uneven as commodities languish

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TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets were uneven Wednesday as commodity prices languished in a sign of uncertainty about world growth prospects.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.1 percent to 19,281.46 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.3 percent to 21,841.81. South Korea's Kospi was little changed at 1,948.26. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.1 percent to 5,105.40. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent to 3,482.59. Markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

COMMODITY LOSSES: Oil prices regained some lost ground but overall commodity markets are still languishing. Iron ore, off 43 percent since the start of 2015, fell again Tuesday, shedding 15 cents to close at $39.25 a metric ton. The trends are raising concerns over slack demand, and over the implications for economies heavily dependent on resource exports.

THE QUOTE: "The strong downward momentum in oil markets stalled," Rick Spooner of CMC Markets said in a commentary. "However, there was no news to support optimism and with spot iron ore continuing to drift lower, investors are likely to remain nervous about mining and energy stocks today."

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 162.51 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,568 on Tuesday. The S&P 500 gave up 13.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,063.59. The Nasdaq composite slipped 3.6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,098.24.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 64 cents to $38.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after falling 14 cents to $37.51 on Tuesday, near a seven-year low. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 55 cents to $40.81 in London.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar was trading at 122.88 yen, down from 122.99 yen in the previous session. The euro rose to $1.0899 from $1.0888.

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