Asian stocks mixed after lackluster US finish

Asian stocks were mixed Tuesday, taking a breather after sharp gains the day before as investors awaited more clues about the health of the world economy.

A number of markets were little changed, fluctuating in line with Wall Street's mixed finish. Oil prices fell modestly, while the dollar weakened against the yen and strengthened against the euro.

The region's markets jumped Monday as investors expressed relief a key U.S. job report proved better than expected and eased worries about recovery in the world's largest economy. Growing optimism about Greece's debt troubles also helped confidence.

Henry Chan, a fund manager at Baring Asset Management, said the sideways trade Tuesday showed investors were still readjusting their expectations for the economy and government policies as the recovery gathers pace.

"We're still going to get volatility in the markets, but gradually people are gaining more confidence," said Chan, who helps manage around $10 billion in Asian equities.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 stock average was little changed, off 3.92 points to 10,582.00.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 21,236.53 and South Korea's main benchmark lost 0.1 percent to 1,657.81.

Shanghai's index added 0.5 percent and Australia's benchmark was up 0.2 percent. Markets in India and Thailand fell.

Oil prices slipped to near $81 a barrel in Asia, losing momentum after a monthlong run-up fueled by growing investor optimism about global economic growth. Benchmark crude for April delivery was down 40 cents to $81.47 a barrel after adding 37 cents overnight.

In currencies, the dollar was lower at 89.98 yen from 90.28 yen. The euro weakened to $1.3610 from $1.3631.

Monday on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell about 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to finish at 10,552.52 a year after hitting bottom.

The other major indexes were narrowly mixed as stocks stalled after a big rally on Friday.

source AFP

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