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Asian stocks fall in thin trading after Wall Street s slide

Asian stocks fall in thin trading after Wall Street s slide
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TOKYO -- Asian shares mostly dropped in thin trading Thursday, taking their cue from a slide on Wall Street as the stronger yen helped send Japanese stocks lower.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 1.4 per cent to 19,122.24, as the strengthening yen, which reduces export earnings, weighed on market sentiments. Australia s S&P/ASX 200 recouped earlier losses and inched up nearly 0.1 per cent to 5,689.40. South Korea s Kospi fell 0.1 per cent to 2,023.35. Hong Kong s Hang Seng lost 0.1 per cent to 21,733.26, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2 per cent at 3,109.14. Shares were also lower in Taiwan.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 111.36 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 19,833.68. The Standard & Poor s 500 index lost 18.96 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 2,249.92. The Nasdaq composite, which set a record high close the day before, slid 48.89 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 5,438.56.

THE QUOTE: "With the series of weak leads, Asian equities could reverse some of the gains clocked in the day prior," says Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

TAKATA UP: Shares of Takata Corp., the Japanese air bag manufacturer at the centre of a massive recall, jumped 16 per cent amid growing speculation that a settlement would be reached with the U.S. authorities on the criminal charges as early as next month. Sixteen deaths around the world have been linked to Takata air bag inflators that can explode with too much force.

NEW YEAR FACTOR: Also adding to the pessimism is the light global trading ahead of the New Year s holidays, keeping many players wary of taking action.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 25 cents to $53.81 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 7 cents to $56.89 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: In currency trading, the dollar fell to 116.60 yen, down from 117.62 yen late Wednesday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.0455 from $1.0468.
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