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Asian stocks lower ahead of US earnings

Monday - 7/7/2014, 4:28am  ET

JOE McDONALD
AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mostly lower Monday as investors looked ahead to U.S. corporate earnings following last week's strong job numbers.

Oil declined but stayed above $104 per barrel.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.1 percent at 2,059.65 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.1 percent at 23,517.08. Taiwan, Sydney, Seoul and Singapore also registered small declines.

Markets gave up some of last week's gains that followed news the United States generated a stronger-than-expected 288,000 jobs in June, a sign an economic recovery might be gaining traction.

"The market saw another piece of evidence that the U.S. economy is gathering steam while at the same time central bank rhetoric remains dovish," said Credit Agricole CIB in a report.

Japan's Nikkei 225 bucked the regional trend, gaining 0.1 percent to 15,445.92.

Taiwan's Taiex shed 0.2 percent to 9,486.92 and Seoul's Kospi was off 0.4 percent at 2,001.27. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 shed just under 0.1 percent to 5,521.80.

On Thursday, the last U.S. trading day before the Independence Day long weekend, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.6 percent to close above 17,000 for the first time. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq composite also added 0.6 percent.

"Companies in the U.S. are widely expected to report better earnings after the winter slumber," said Desmond Chua of CMC Markets in a report.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 closed unchanged Friday while France's CAC-40 fell 0.5 percent and Germany's DAX shed 0.2 percent.

Oil shed 3 cents to $104.02 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract tumbled 42 cents in the previous session to close at $104.06.

In currency trading, the euro fell to $1.3584 from $1.3594 late Friday. The dollar rose to 102.14 yen from 102.08 yen.


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