KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Asian stock markets were mixed Monday as pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and concern about China's economy offset good U.S. economic news.
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KEEPING SCORE: Paris's CAC-40 opened down 0.3 percent at 4,382.29 points and Germany's Dax was off 0.1 percent at 9,476.21. Wall Street looked set for a day of declines, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and broader Standard & Poor's 500 both down 0.3 percent in pre-market trading. On Friday, the DJ and the Nasdaq composite rose 1 percent and the S&P added 0.9 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index was up 0.5 percent at 16,310.64 and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.4 percent to 2,357.71. Hong Kong's Hang Seng plunged 1.9 percent to 23,229.21 amid concerns over rising protests and the rest of the region was mostly in the red. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9 percent to 5,269.60 and stocks in Taipei, Seoul and Singapore also edged down.
HONG KONG TENSIONS: Pro-democracy protests escalated Monday, raising concerns business in this Asian financial hub might be disrupted. In a rare scene of disorder, thousands of people took to the streets over the weekend in a challenge against Beijing's decision to limit political reforms. Police fired tear gas and detained 78 protesters but failed to break up the rally.
WEAK CHINESE DATA: China reported a 0.6 percent fall in industrial company profits in August, indicating economic growth might be declining further. Despite improved September manufacturing data, analysts said declining industrial production, lower property prices, weaker imports and pressure on factory prices are pointing to softening economic conditions.
ANALYST TAKE: "Concerns over the Chinese economy and protests in Hong Kong are likely to keep investors relatively cautious despite Friday's rebound in U.S. stocks," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Australia, in a commentary.
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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 71 cents to $92.83 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract rose $1.01 to $93.54, buoyed by rising demand in the U.S. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 10 cents to $96.90.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 109.6310 yen from Friday's 109.2950. The euro edged up to $1.2686 from the previous session's $1.2684.