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Asian Market Rally Fizzles On Oil Price Retreat

Asian Market Rally Fizzles On Oil Price Retreat
AFP / Kazuhiro Nogi Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 ticked up 0.27 percent to close at 19,033.71 on Japan's last trading day of the year

Tokyo (AFP) – Asia-Pacific stock markets had a see-saw trading day with sentiment hit as oil prices retreated, but Tokyo ended on a high note as one of the best performers of 2015.

A brief rally in the morning gave way to selling in light-volume deals as crude resumed its decline ahead of closely watched US oil stockpiles and production data.

The decline kept alive concerns about demand and the strength of the global economy.

“Risk sentiment is very much subject to crude oil prices,” Hiroyuki Yamamuro, an analyst at Ueda Harlow, told Bloomberg News.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished 0.53 percent lower, while Shanghai squeaked out a 0.26 percent gain after dipping in and out of negative territory in earlier trading.

Seoul lost 0.25 percent by the close, Singapore was down 0.18 percent and Taiwan fell 0.17 percent.

But Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 ticked up 0.27 percent on Japan’s last trading day of the year.

The index climbed more than nine percent in 2015 to rank among the world’s top-performing major markets, outpacing most of its rivals in the US and Asia-Pacific.

Japan’s financial markets will be closed Thursday and Friday, reopening on January 4 after the New Year’s holiday.

Meanwhile, Sydney finished 1.00 percent higher and Wellington closed up 0.43 percent.

“We’ll keep on being moved by the oil price,” said Chihiro Ohta, general manager of investment information at SMBC Nikko Securities.

“We’ll have to keep being aware of this for the first three months or the first half of next year as well.”

European stock markets opened lower in muted trade on Wednesday, with many investors absent for holidays.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index declined 0.3 percent, the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.2 percent and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 edged down 0.05 percent.

The broad decline in Asia followed a tech-driven rally on Wall Street, where a brief rise in crude prices and upbeat US data lifted the mood.

Amazon closed at a new record of $693.97, up 2.8 percent, rising for a second day after Monday announcing record holiday sales of its premium delivery service.

Meanwhile, the US Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence rose to 96.5 in December from 92.6 the prior month.

The report offered an upbeat view on the world’s top economy following the Fed’s interest rate hike announcement this month.

The Dow jumped 1.10 percent Tuesday, while the S&P 500 gained 1.06 percent and the Nasdaq ended 1.33 percent higher. European equities also rose.

– Key figures around 0730 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.27 percent at 19,033.71 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.53 percent at 21,882.15 (close)

Sydney – S&P/ASX200: UP 1.00 percent at 5,319.94 (close)

Euro/Dollar: UP at $1.0935 from $1.0921 Tuesday in New York

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 120.45 yen from 120.47 yen in New York

New York – Dow: UP 1.1 percent at 17,720.98 (close)