HONG KONG – Asian stock markets are mixed Friday as investors weighed Wall Street's latest gains on strong earnings reports against the latest oil production cut, which dragged down crude prices and commodity shares.
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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.3 percent to 19,761.98 but South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.4 percent to 2,353.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped less than 0.1 percent to 25,619.42 and the Shanghai Composite index in mainland China climbed 0.3 percent higher to 3,117.47. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.8 percent to 5,7474.80. Taiwan's benchmark fell and indexes in Southeast Asia were mixed.
CRUDE CUT: An alliance of oil-producing nations extended production cuts for nine months to shore up crude prices. The deal involving Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members and Russia was widely expected by analysts, but disappointed investors who were hoping for a longer extension. Oil prices have rallied over the last few weeks, but experts doubt the deal will do much to boost prices. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 6 cents to $48.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed $2.46, or 4.8 percent, to settle at $48.90 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 3 cents to $51.49 a barrel in London. Australia's Woodside Petroleum fell 2.3 percent and PetroChina lost 1.5 percent.
QUOTEWORTHY: "The extent of oil's selloff demonstrates that, even with the extended production cuts now agreed, the U.S. oil price may struggle to get past the early to mid-$50's range for some time yet," said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets. "This time around, the production agreement may be more difficult to hold together."
WALL STREET: U.S. stocks climbed for the sixth day in a row on strong first-quarter earnings results. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 2,415.07. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent to 21,082.95. The Nasdaq composite jumped 0.7 percent to 6,205.26, above the record it notched last week.
CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 111.66 yen from 111.84 yen in late Thursday trading. The euro rose to $1.1190 from $1.1209.