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Nov 12, 2014 11:02 PM

Asian stocks muted after Wall Street retreat

The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) Asian stocks were subdued Thursday after Wall Street retreated following five days of record gains but Tokyo gained after a surprise rise in Japan's machinery orders.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.8 percent to 17,321.18 while China's Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.4 percent at 2,484.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was little changed at 23,940.20 and Seoul's Kospi shed 0.1 percent to 1,965.55. Sydney and Jakarta fell while Singapore and Taiwan gained.

WALL STREET: Major indexes retreated from record highs after regulators in the United States, Switzerland and Britain fined five major banks for conspiring to manipulate foreign-currency trading. JP Morgan Chase fell more than 1 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average each slipped a fraction of a percent. On Tuesday, the S&P had closed at a record high for a fifth straight day.

JAPAN DATA: Machinery orders rose unexpectedly in October in a sign of growing investment by manufacturers. Excluding shipbuilding and electricity, orders rose 2.9 percent over the previous month, defying predictions of a decline.

THE QUOTE: In Japan, "capital spending should start to recover soon," said Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics in a report. With the Shoko Chukin survey showing capacity usage at small firms at its highest since 2009, he said, "this measure points to a solid expansion in spending on machinery and equipment."

EUROPE: Investors were looking ahead to inflation data due out Thursday from larger members of the euro common currency area. Forecasters expect prices rises below 1 percent in Germany and France and a slight decline in Spain. "The big picture remains one of protracted disinflation in the Eurozone," said Daniel Lee of Credit Agricole CIB in a report. On Wednesday, Germany's DAX lost 1.7 percent and France's CAC 40 dropped 1.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 0.2 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell further on expectations of strong supplies, shedding 14 cents to $77.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract declined 76 cents to a four-year low of $77.18.

CURRENCIES: The dollar gained to 115.59 yen from the previous day's 115.47 yen. The euro inched up to $1.2444 from $1.2437.


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