KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower Wednesday following a subdued session on Wall Street as energy stocks were weighed down by falling oil prices.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 eased 0.2 percent to 18,875.57 points while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.5 percent to 23,222.26. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.5 percent to 3,138.32 and benchmarks in New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan were also lower. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 bucked the trend to rise 0.3 percent to 5,635.80.
WALL STREET: Wall Street capped a subdued day of trading Tuesday with tiny gains led by consumer goods makers and technology companies. Energy sector stocks rode a rebound in oil prices to gain 23.7 percent in 2016 but are off 5.1 percent this year. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent to 20,090.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was flat at 2,293.08. The Nasdaq gained 0.2 percent to 5,674.22, another record high.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude extended losses, falling 62 cents to $51.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 84 cents to close at $52.17 a barrel on Tuesday due to a stronger dollar and after weekly data showed a sustained build-up in U.S. oil inventory. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, shed 45 cents to $54.60 a barrel. It slipped 67 cents to $55.05 a barrel the previous session. The American Petroleum Institute data showed crude inventory at 14.2 million barrels, the second highest on record. Official government data is due later Wednesday.
ANALYST'S QUOTE: Ric Spooner, chief market analyst with CMC Markets, said oil prices broke below recent support levels. "This reflects the near term reality that, despite OPEC production cuts, it will take some time for the world's large oil inventories to be reduced. This makes the oil price vulnerable to a short term decline below $50," Spooner said in a commentary.
CHINA'S FALLING RESERVES: China's foreign reserves fell more than expected to $2.998 trillion, the lowest level in six years. This added to concerns over China's capital outflow and sent its currency and share benchmarks lower.
CURRENCY: The dollar fell to 112.14 yen from 112.19 on Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.0686 from $1.0696.