Asian share prices mostly lower as Wall Street rally fades

TOKYO (AP) — Share prices were mostly lower in Asia yesterday as the afterglow from Wall Street’s extended winning streak faded. Chinese shares were buoyed by surging oil prices.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3 per cent to 23,788.20 and the Kospi in South Korea lost 0.3 per cent to 2,501.72. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.6 per cent to 6,096.70. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong climbed 0.3 per cent, shedding some morning gains, to 31,097.41 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3 per cent to 3,405.44. Shares fell in Taiwan and were mixed in Southeast Asia.

WALL STREET: Stocks pushed further into record territory Tuesday, with health care stocks and banks leading the gains. The S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent to 2,751.29 to equal its longest winning streak leading off a year since 2010. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4 per cent to 25,385.80 and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.1 per cent to 7,163.58. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks slipped 0.1 per cent to 1,560.10.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ indices brought us fresh highs once again on Tuesday, though the carry through to Asian markets may be limited by caution ahead,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. – AP

CHINA INFLATION DATA: China reported that its consumer price index edged up to 1.8 per cent in December from 1.7 per cent the month before, driven by higher food prices. But broader gauges showed price pressures easing. “Looking ahead, we think that food prices aside, inflation will continue to drop back in the coming quarters as economic activity softens,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.31 Japanese yen from 112.65 yen late Tuesday. The euro slipped to $1.1931 from $1.1938, and the British pound dipped to $1.3520 from $1.3540.

ENERGY: Benchmark US crude oil rose 49 cents to $63.45 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.23 to settle at $62.96 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 34 cents to $69.16 per barrel. It rose $1.04 to settle at $68.82 per barrel in London.