Asian shares mixed as benchmarks fall back after upbeat open

By EnergyAssociated Press

Asian shares were mixed Monday after several markets ceded gains from upbeat openings that tracked Friday's rally on Wall Street.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was flat at 23,626.45 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost less than 0.1 percent to 33,142.51. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.5 percent to 3,538.98. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.1 percent to 2,602.39 and the S&P ASX/200 in Australia added 0.6 percent to 6,083.20. Shares rose in Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand but fell in Indonesia.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks ended last week with biggest gain in almost nine months as drugmakers and technology companies surged. Investors were also cheered by President Donald Trump's apparently more positive tone on international trade. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 1.2 percent to 2,872.87, its biggest gain since March 1. The Dow Jones industrial average 0.8 percent to 26,616.71. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.3 percent to 7,505.77 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 0.4 percent to 1,608.06. Already at record highs, the S&P 500 is up 7.5 percent in January and on track for its largest monthly increase since October 2015.

TECHNOLOGY AND TRADE: Technology and industrial companies, such as Amazon in the U.S., have been rising lately on optimism about the global economy. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Donald Trump said Friday leaders should prioritize their own countries, but that his administration isn't opposed to international cooperation and that U.S. economic growth is good for the rest of the world.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "More record highs on Wall St. will push Asia Pacific markets higher at today's open, according to futures traders. However a data packed week and stock reporting seasons around the globe should see market focus turn to the numbers. A weakening U.S. dollar may prove a brake on any investor exuberance," Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a commentary.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 108.71 yen from 109.26 late Friday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.2418 from $1.2443.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 22 cents to $66.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 63 cents, or 1 percent, to $66.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 43 cents to $70.09 per barrel.

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