BEIJING – Asian stocks were mostly higher Monday on a quiet trading day with Hong Kong, Wall Street and London closed for holidays.
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KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, France's CAC-40 lost 0.7 percent to 5,107.28 points. London and Frankfurt were closed for holidays. Wall Street is closed Monday for Memorial Day. Among Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index surged 3.4 percent to 4,813.80 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was up 0.7 percent at 20,413.77. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1 percent to 5,721.50. Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand also rose. Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila declined. Hong Kong and Seoul were closed for holidays.
U.S. ECONOMY: The Labor Department reported inflation rose 0.1 percent in April, its third straight increase. The numbers suggest that an improving economy could be setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate. Also Friday, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said in a speech that she expected the Fed to begin raising rates later this year if the job market improves. But she cautioned that the economy is still facing challenges, including disappointing wage growth and too many people working part-time.
GREECE DEBT: Greece's ruling Radical Left Coalition rejected a call by party hardliners to skip its next payment to the International Monetary Fund. The ruling party's central committee also rejected calls to nationalize banks and hold a referendum to allow voters to reject any deal with the European Union and the IMF over debt relief in exchange for fiscal changes. Greece owes 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in June. It has not received bailout aid since August and the European Central Bank has provided less help lately to Greek banks.
WALL STREET: On Friday, major indexes declined as oil drillers and other energy-related companies followed oil prices lower. The S&P 500 fell but closed up for the week. The index has closed at record highs recently, though the gains have been tiny as investors fret over unimpressive earnings and an uncertain global economy. The Standard & Poor's 500 closed down 4.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,126.06. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.72 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,232.02. The Nasdaq composite edged down 1.43 points to 5,089.36. Markets were due to be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil lost 3 cents to $59.69 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed $1 on Friday to $59.72. Brent crude used to price international oils fell 59 cents to $64.80 in London after losing $1.27 on Friday.
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CURRENCIES: The dollar gained to 121.64 yen from Friday's 121.54 yen. The euro declined to $1.0964 from $1.1013.