Asian shares mostly lower on Trump, Brazil worries

By YURI KAGEYAMA Markets Associated Press

Asian stocks were mostly lower Friday as investor worries remained about the U.S. political turmoil over an investigation into possible Russian coordination with President Donald Trump's campaign.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 0.2 percent to 19,510.96 in morning trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down nearly 0.5 percent to 5,711.10. South Korea's Kospi was little changed at 2,287.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was virtually unchanged at 25,131.74. The Shanghai Composite slipped nearly 0.1 percent to 3,087.38.

BRAZIL FACTOR: Markets are also being shaken by a deepening political crisis in Brazil, where President Michel Temer is facing calls for his resignation amid allegations of corruption. Stocks and the currency have plunged there.

U.S. FACTOR: U.S. shares rallied, partly cheered by a positive report jobs data, but it followed the worst drop in eight months. Fears are growing recently Trump may have trouble enacting tax cuts and other business-friendly policies.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8.69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,365.72. The Dow Jones industrial average added 56.09 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,663.02. The Nasdaq composite index gained 43.89 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,055.13.

THE QUOTE: "Given the heightened level of uncertainty, I suspect traders will remain in a kind of Investor Purgatory where risk aversion dominates and fear mounts that the investigation could open up a whole new can of worms which will do little more than compound the markets current panic syndrome," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA.

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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures added 32 cents to $49.67 a barrel. It rose 28 cents to $49.35 a barrel in New York Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 40 cents to $52.91 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro slipped to $1.1112 from $1.1153 late Thursday in Asia. The dollar strengthened slightly to 111.20 yen from 111.17 yen.

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AP Business Writer Alex Veiga contributed to this report.

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