TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares slipped Monday amid uncertainty over what the U.S. Federal Reserve might do on interest rates and Britain's status on the European Union.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 2.8 percent to 16,134.91 in early trading. South Korea's Kospi fell 1.6 percent to 1,986.42. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 2.5 percent to 20,513.30, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.9 percent to 2,901.19. Markets in Southeast Asia were also lower.
THE FED: Until recently, markets had expected the U.S. Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates, but now some players are expecting the Fed to shift to a wait-and-see mood. The policy board meetings later this week, and what Chair Janet Yellen will say is being closely watched.
BRITISH REFERENDUM: Speculation is rising over whether Britain will choose to remain in the 28-nation European Union in a June 23 referendum. A poll in London's The Independent last week showed that 55 percent of British citizens want to leave the European Union.
THE QUOTE: "Brexit fears will continue to dominate sentiment as this crunch date looms," said Stephen Innes, analyst at OANDA.
WALL STREET: On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 119.85 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,865.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 19.41 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,096.07. The Nasdaq composite shed 64.07 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,894.55.
ENERGY: U.S. crude fell 70 cents to $48.37. It had shed $1.49, or 2.9 percent, to $49.07 a barrel in New York late Friday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell 64 cents to $49.90 a barrel in London. Oil prices had reached 11-month highs in the last few days.
CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 106.14 yen from 107.16 yen late Friday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.1236 from $1.1298.
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