Published: Tue, December 22, 2015
Business | By Max Garcia

Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street declines

The Dow ended Friday down 2.1 per cent, while the S&P 500 lost 1.78 per cent and the Nasdaq 1.59 percent. For the week, the Dow fell 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq 0.2 percent.

Wall Street also had a volatile end to the week with the expiration of stock and index options contracts generating heavy trading volume. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,010 and the Nasdaq composite rose 20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,943.

Although the S&P 500 touched record highs in 2015, the index is down about 2.5 percent for the year, buffeted by slowing growth in China, slump in commodities and uncertainty over USA interest rates. Japan's Nikkei extended losses from Friday to close down 0.4 percent. Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.3 percent to 1,981.19, while.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.05% higher at 5,109. Bank stocks fell the most after investors had bid them up in hopes they would become more profitable as lending rates climbed. Technology shares suffered more declines as a bad December got worse for Apple.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,150 as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern. The Nasdaq composite sank 79.47 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,923.08.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Friday's sell-off underscores the difficulty the USA stock market now has in playing its traditional role as the leader of world market rallies". All 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the financials sector's.SPSY 1.73 percent fall.

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks were only slightly higher in mid-day trading Monday, as a rebound earlier in the day fizzled. The ruling Popular Party received the most votes, but fell far short of a parliamentary majority and is at risk of being booted from power. If forced out of government, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his Popular Party would become the third European victim this year of a voter backlash against austerity following elections in Greece and Portugal seen as rebellions against unpopular tax hikes and spending cuts. Crude oil was down 39 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $35.67 a barrel. United States crude lost 25 cents to US$34.48 a barrel, close to Friday's 2015 lows. The dollar was down at 121.32 yen after touching 123.58 on Friday.

Asian share markets advanced on Monday after a lacklustre start, defying a dive on Wall Street, and the price of Brent crude threatened to plumb lows last seen in 2004 on renewed worries over a global oil glut.

The euro was little changed at US$1.0863, while the dollar was a whisker firmer against a basket of currencies amid very light trade. Microsoft was up 1.6 per cent at $54.98 after a Barron's report on Sunday that the Windows operating system maker's shares could rise 30 percent over the next 18 months.

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