Asia shares higher in subdued trading after Wall Street rise

By YURI KAGEYAMA Markets Associated Press

Asian shares were higher in subdued trading Monday, after Wall Street ended the week barely higher as Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods sent some retailer stocks downward.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent to 20,049.67 in the morning session, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 5,802.60. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.6 percent to 2,375.23. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.7 percent to 25,816.67, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.3 percent to 3,132.47.

BREXIT WORRIES: Brexit negotiations start on Monday, with question marks over Britain's approach after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority in an election meant to strengthen her hand in the talks. Germany's foreign minister is talking about a chance of a "soft" British exit from the European Union that keeps the U.K. in the bloc's single market.

THE QUOTE: "Global markets lack conviction and direction after the flurry of G4 central bank meetings, fading French political risks and some dialing down in headline U.K. risks," says Vishnu Varathan of the Singapore Treasury Division at Mizuho Bank.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index inched up 0.69 points to 2,433.15. The Dow Jones industrial average added 24.38 points, or 0.1 percent, to a record high of 21,384.28. The Nasdaq composite fell 13.74 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,151.76. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks shed 3.36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,406.73.

AMAZON GROCERIES: Wall Street ended the week higher, although consumer stocks got shaken by online giant Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods. Whole Foods and Amazon stock jumped, while Wal-Mart, Costco and Target tumbled. Amazon already runs AmazonFresh, a grocery delivery service.

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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 18 cents to $44.56 a barrel. It rose 28 cents to $44.74 a barrel in New York late Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 19 cents to $47.18 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged down to 111.00 yen from 111.15 yen late Friday in Asia. The euro rose to $1.1198 from $1.1152.

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