Asian stocks follow Wall Street down on concern about Greece

Markets Associated Press

Asian stock markets were mostly lower Tuesday after Wall Street was dragged down by mounting concern about Greece's standoff with its creditors.

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KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 declined 0.3 percent to 17,652.88 and Seoul's Kospi shed 0.6 percent to 1,935.86. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.1 percent at 24,502.96. Sydney and Taipei also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7 percent to 3,117.57. Southeast Asian markets mostly dropped.

GREECE STRESS: Tensions between Athens and its foreign creditors mounted after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday declared an end to budget cuts and tax increases. Tsipras said he would press for a short-term loan to give the country and its creditors time to negotiate a replacement for its bailout program. Greece is a relatively small economy but investors worry that if it drops out of the euro currency, that might send shock waves through financial markets.

THE QUOTE: "We think there has not been a sharp downturn in global growth recently, although activity has slowed gradually in China and remains sluggish in Japan and the euro-zone. But another familiar problem, the fiscal crisis in Greece, clearly poses a significant downside risk to the global economy, even if the threat of contagion has diminished somewhat since 2012," said Andrew Kenningham of Capital Economics in a report.

WALL STREET: Stocks slipped on concern about Greece even though U.S. companies are reporting better earnings than expected. The Standard & Poor's 500 slipped 8.73 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 2,046.74. the Dow Jones industrial average fell 95.08 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,729.21, while the Nasdaq composite fell 18.39 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,726.01.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 80 cents to $52.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.17 on Monday to close at $52.86. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 77 cents to $57.58 after adding 54 cents to close at $58.34 on Monday. The gains Monday came as OPEC said that it expects demand for crude to rise this year and U.S. output to fall.

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CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 118.54 yen from Monday's 118.58 yen. The euro rose to $1.1339 from $1.1330.