Asia shares mostly higher in New Year Eve trading

8:13 PM, Dec 30, 2013   |    comments
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TOKYO (AP) -- Shares were mostly higher in the few markets open Tuesday in Asia, after Japan finished 2013 trading with its biggest annual gain in 41 years.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.3 percent by mid-morning to 23,314.21. Shares in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Shanghai were also slightly higher, but fell in New Zealand and Taiwan.

Markets were closed in Japan and other Asian markets for the New Year holiday.

The Tokyo benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.7 percent Monday to end 2013 at its highest level in more than six years, having gained 56.7 percent in 2013.

Overnight, markets were more cautious. Germany's DAX drifted 0.4 percent lower on its last trading day, to 9,552.16, leaving it shy of its record high hit last week.

French and U.K. markets, which will trade for a half day on Tuesday, also closed slightly lower, with the CAC-40 down 0.1 percent at 4,275.71, and the FTSE 100 down 0.3 percent at 6,731.27.

In the U.S., the Dow was flat at 16,483.88, while the S&P 500 was down 0.1 percent at 1,840.22.

This was a banner year for many markets, with the DAX up 25.5 percent, the CAC index up 17.4 percent and the FTSE 100 gaining 14 percent. But none matched the Nikkei, which soared on renewed confidence in the economy.

China's slowdown and growing concern over its mountain of local debt cast a pall over many regional markets.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, burdened by rising concern over debt and slowing growth in mainland China, has gained just 2.9 percent this year, while the Shanghai Composite Index has fallen 7 percent.

In foreign exchange markets, the dollar was trading 0.01 percent lower at 104.92 Japanese yen, while the euro slipped 0.02 percent to $1.380.

The price of crude oil dipped back below $100, with the benchmark U.S. contract for February delivery down 2 cents to $99.31 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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