Asian markets were mostly higher in muted trading Monday, as Hong Kong and Australian markets were closed for Easter, and Wall Street and other global markets have been closed for a long weekend after Good Friday.
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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to 21,562.01 in morning trading, while South Korea's Kospi was up 0.5 percent at 2,458.68. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.4 percent to 3,182.44. Shares in Singapore were higher, while those in Taiwan were lower.
WALL STREET: New York trading is off for a long weekend for Good Friday, and will resume later in the day.
TRADE FEARS: Asian benchmarks appeared to be shrugging off fears that President Donald Trump's tariff programs could set off a trade war. China raised import duties on U.S. pork, fruit and other products Monday in response to a U.S. tariff hike on steel and aluminum. A bigger dispute looms over Trump's approval of possible higher duties on nearly $50 billion of Chinese goods.
JAPAN ECONOMY: A quarterly business outlook survey by Japan's central bank shows corporate sentiment has worsened for the first time in two years. The Bank of Japan's "tankan" index for large manufacturers was 24 in March, down two points from December.
THE QUOTE: "The market's biggest fears about escalating trade war and higher U.S. interest rates have tentatively blown over, suggesting investors will shift into bargain-hunting mode," said Stephen Innes, head of trading at Oanda.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $65.19 a barrel. Trading had stopped for the long Easter weekend. On Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude rose 56 cents to $64.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 37 cents to $69.71 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched up to 106.33 yen from 106.23 yen late Friday. The euro inched down to $1.2322 from $1.2329.
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