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Dec 10, 2014 9:51 PM

Asia shares drop as oil reinforces growth jitters

The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) Asian stock markets slid again Thursday as falling oil prices reinforced jitters about a sluggish global economy.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's benchmark, the Nikkei 225, fell 0.9 percent to 17,254.55. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.8 percent to 23,332.19 while South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.7 percent to 1,931.68. Shares were also lower in Taiwan, Singapore and Australia. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6 percent to 2,958.04.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Stocks are being sold as part of a global risk-off trend, and behind that are falling oil prices," Hideyuki Ishiguro, strategist at Okasan Securities Co. said on NTV, using the term to describe investors selling and moving to more stable investments when risks are rising. He was optimistic in the longer term because falling oil prices could eventually provide a boost to the global economy.

ENERGY: Oil was slightly higher after tumbling Wednesday. The price of oil has now dropped more than 40 percent from a peak of $107 in June because of weak demand and oversupply. An OPEC report has projected that demand for its crude would sink next year to levels not seen in more than a decade. On Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude was up 59 cents at $61.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dived $2.88 to close at $60.94 a barrel on Wednesday

JAPAN ELECTION: If the pro-business ruling party wins the weekend nationwide parliamentary elections, as opinion polls are showing, the Tokyo stock market could start rising again. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking a renewed mandate for his "Abenomics" policies to end two decades of economic stagnation.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 33.68 points, or 1.6 percent, to 2,026.14. The decline was the biggest for the index since Oct. 13. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 268.05 points, or 1.5 percent, to 17,533.15. The Nasdaq composite fell 82.44 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,684.03. Falling oil prices and concerns about global growth have pushed stocks down sharply since U.S. shares closed at record levels Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 118.19 yen from 117.57 yen late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.2459 from $1.2488.


Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama


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