Asian shares sink after Wall St losses

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HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly lower on Friday following losses on Wall Street fuelled by anaemic US consumer spending, while the dollar and euro extended losses against the yen.
Investors were taking a breather ahead of the release next week of key economic data, including on global manufacturing activity, US jobs and Japanese business confidence.

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Tokyo tumbled 1.39 percent, or 213.49 points, to 15,095 as the strong yen hit exporters, Sydney fell 0.35 percent, or 19.2 points, to close at 5,445.1 and Seoul slipped 0.33 percent, or 6.54 points, to 1,988.51.

Shanghai closed 0.11 percent lower, giving up 2.17 points to 2,036.51 but Hong Kong reversed earlier losses to finish 0.10 percent higher, adding 23.69 points to 23,221.52.

In New York the three main indexes ended lower Thursday after the government released
figures showing consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose just 0.2 percent in May after a flat April.

The figures came a day after news that the economy shrank a lot more than first thought in January-March, leading to worries that a recovery is still fragile.

The Dow eased 0.13 percent and the S&P 500 dipped 0.12 percent, having both touched record highs at the end of last week. The Nasdaq was flat.

On currency markets the dollar, which sank in New York after the weak spending data, fell further in Tokyo. The greenback bought 101.42 yen compared with 101.70 yen in New York and 101.79 yen in Tokyo earlier Thursday.

The euro also dropped, buying 138.16 yen, down from 138.42 in US trade and well off the 138.78 yen Thursday in Asia. The single currency was at $1.3619 against $1.3609.

Oil prices—which have been sitting at nine-month highs because of the Iraq crisis—edged higher.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up five cents at $105.89, while Brent crude added seven cents to $113.28.

Gold fetched $1,316.77 an ounce at 8:13 a.m. local time compared with $1,312.60 on Wednesday.

AFP

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