Asian shares meander after Wall St drifts, oil prices drop

AP News
Posted: Jan 13, 2015 9:58 PM
Asian shares meander after Wall St drifts, oil prices drop

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares meandered Wednesday following a volatile session on Wall Street as investors remained edgy over the slump in oil prices.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.9 percent to 16,929.25 and South Korea's Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower to 1,915.55. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was almost flat at 24,212.23 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.3 percent to 5,389.80. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.5 percent to 3,252.83.

ENERGY: Oil fell again after the UAE energy minister said OPEC has no plans to curb production to shore up prices that have slumped almost 60 percent since June. U.S. crude was down 20 cents to $45.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 18 cents to close at $45.89 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 23 cents to $47.59 in London. Some of the fall in crude reflects oversupply but analysts say a weak global economy is also a factor.

THE QUOTE: "US$40 a barrel will be a self-fulfilling trade" for crude oil, said IG strategist Evan Lucas in a market commentary. "Momentum is with this trade. The supply glut is not going to end in the interim."

WALL STREET: Stocks swung from gains to losses and almost back again on Tuesday. Investors are getting a jumpy start this year as markets grapple with the potential impact of plunging oil prices. The Standard & Poor's 500 index eased 5.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,023.03. The Dow fell 27.16 points, or 0.15 percent, to 17,613.68. The Nasdaq composite slipped 3.21 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 4,661.50.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 117.43 yen from its previous close of 117.61 yen. The euro edged lower to $1.1775 from $1.1781.