Asia stocks mixed after Wall Street falls on lower oil price

Asia stocks mixed after Wall Street falls on lower oil price


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BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed in thin trading Thursday after the latest decline in oil prices pulled Wall Street lower. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for the New Year holiday.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent to 3,560.34. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.2 percent to 5,308.70 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent to 21,870.01. Singapore and Taiwan also fell. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia gained.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 117.11 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,603.87. The Dow is on track to end 2015 down 1.2 percent. Standard and Poor's 500 index dropped 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,063.36. The index is up only 0.2 percent for the year. The Nasdaq composite lost 42.09 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,065.85. The Nasdaq is up about 7 percent for year.

OIL DOLDRUMS: Benchmark U.S. crude for February delivery shed 3.4 percent on Wednesday, extending its losses for the year to 40 percent. Energy companies fell the most among the 10 sectors in the S&P 500, 1.5 percent. The sector is down 23.8 percent for the year. Southwestern Energy fell 6.8 percent, while Consol Energy sank 5.6 percent.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "On the eve of the new year, the fact is that lingering and familiar risks are not purged at the stroke of midnight," said Mizuho Bank. It cited fluctuating oil prices and uncertainty about the impact of monetary policy changes in the United States, Europe and Japan. "Instead the risk landscape is a continuum that warrants caution."

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 22 cents to $36.82 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.27 on Wednesday to close at $36.60. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 16 cents to $36.62 in London. It slid $1.33 in the previous session to $36.46.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 120.42 yen from Wednesday's 120.49. The euro also fell, to $1.0926 from $1.0936.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Joe McDonald

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