Asian markets mostly down on oil concerns

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Asian shares mostly fell Friday, with investors cautious following the plunge in oil prices overnight and concerns that a correction in commodity prices is underway, and as they await the release of U.S. inflation and June non-farm payrolls data later in the day.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.1 percent down at 15,106.98. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed nearly 1 percent at 20,507.37. China’s Shanghai Compose index fell 0.8 percent to 2,991.35. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent at 5,230.50. South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.6 percent at 1953.10. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks swerved between gains and losses Thursday and wound up with a muddled finish as the price of oil plunged. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 22.74 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,895.88. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 1.83 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,097.90. The Nasdaq composite rose 17.65 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,876.81. The Dow rose as much as 66 points in the morning and fell as much as 102 points in the afternoon.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “After last week’s huge gains in stock markets, we could see this week ending with mild losses,” said IG market strategist Bernard Aw. He added that energy-related shares are likely to be under pressure as concerns about oil demand triggered a dramatic fall of crude oil prices Thursday. He said investors also remain cautious ahead of the June U.S. nonfarm payrolls’ Friday release, where they will be looking to see if the dismal number in May is an anomaly or the start of a weakening job market.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 28 cents to $45.41. On Thursday, it lost $2.29 or 4.8 percent, to $45.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 28 cents at $46.69. It shed $2.40, or 4.9 percent, to $46.40 a barrel in London on Thursday. The price of oil fell Thursday after the EIA said crude oil inventories shrank by 2.2 million barrels last week. Analysts expected a bigger drop of 2.6 million barrels, according to S&P Global Platts. Inventories have been at historically high levels lately as the supply of oil outstrips demand.

CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 100.58 yen from 100.76 yen the previous day. The euro rose to $1.1080 from $1.1055 on Thursday.

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