Asian stock markets lower as latest Greece bailout talks fail to produce outcome

Energy Associated Press

Asian stock markets were lower Thursday as negotiations to keep Greece from defaulting dragged on without result, dimming hopes of a deal this week.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.5 percent to 20,771.40 and South Korea's Kospi finished nearly unchanged at 2,085.06. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.8 percent to 27,190.75. Australia's S&P/ ASX 200 fell 1 percent to 5,632.70. Stocks in Southeast Asia were lower. China's Shanghai Composite, which started higher, closed 3.5 percent lower at 4,527.78.

GREEK DOUBT: Crucial talks between Greece and its international creditors ended without result early Thursday, casting fresh doubt over the country's future in the euro currency and piling new pressure on negotiators to reach a deal later in the day. After an eight-hour grilling with the leaders of the three main institutions handling his country's massive debts, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras left the talks in Brussels without speaking to reporters . Technical experts were due to resume their deliberations just after dawn in Europe to thrash out the details of Greece's reform plans.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Traders who thought that a bailout deal for Greece will be smooth sailing after Monday's meeting are now having second thoughts," said Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG. "The reality is that time is running out for Greece and a major part of the problem for the deadlock is that they seem to be playing a zero-sum game."

WALL STREET: Lack of progress in the Greek talks weighed on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 1 percent to 17,966.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped 0.7 percent to 2,108.58 and the Nasdaq composite finished 0.7 percent lower at 5,122.41.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 2 cent to $60.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 74 cents to close at $60.27 a barrel on Wednesday after the Energy Department reported an increase in stockpiles of gasoline and diesel in its weekly inventory report. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, added 6 cents at $63.55 a barrel in London.

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CURRENCIES: The euro was flat at $1.1205 while the dollar weakened to 123.76 yen from 123.84 yen.