Asian stocks decline, Europe up after Wall Street hits record highs

EnergyAssociated Press

Major Asian stock markets fell Tuesday while Europe gained after Wall Street closed at record highs ahead of the Christmas trading break.

KEEPING SCORE: In morning trading, France's CAC-40 added 0.5 percent to 4,275.58 and Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 9,886.83. On Monday, the DAX gained 0.7 percent and the CAC-40 0.3 percent. Wall Street looked set for more gains, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index both up 0.1 percent. On Monday, the Dow rose 0.9 percent to 17,959.44 points and the S&P gained 0.4 percent to 2,078.54.

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ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3 percent at 3,032.61 after spending much of the day in positive territory. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 23,326.62 and Seoul's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 1,939.02. India's Sensex declined 0.6 percent to 27,538.22. Benchmarks for smaller markets in Singapore, Manila, Jakarta and New Zealand gained, while Sydney fell.

THE QUOTE: "Asian equities have been fairly choppy, with some of the key markets retreating despite a record close for the S&P 500. The rally in U.S. equities continues to roll on and seems unstoppable at the moment as it looks to finish the year in style," strategist Stan Shamu of IG Markets said in a report.

WALL STREET: A rally started last week with investor concerns easing that the U.S. Federal Reserve might raise interest rates. On Monday, traders shrugged off news that sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell 6.1 percent last month and pushed prices higher for a fourth day.

CHINA: The benchmark was dragged down by declines for major stocks including PetroChina Ltd. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., though it still is up more than 50 percent since a rally began in June. PetroChina was off 5.6 percent but still is up more than 26 percent in the past month. ICBC shed 4.9 percent but is up more than 20 percent for the month.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 23 cents to $55.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract fell $1.87 to close at $55.26. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 10 cents to $60.21.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to Y120.13 yen from Monday's 120.14 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.22.