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Asia stocks mixed as US, EU confidence slumps

Aug 30, 2011 11:52:00 PM - thestate.com
Asian shares searched for direction Wednesday as investors weighed slumping consumer and business confidence in developed economies against a session of gains on Wall Street fueled by bargain-hunting.

Oil prices edged lower toward $88 a barrel after the drop in sentiment suggested growth was likely to slow further in coming months.

After four days of gains, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 percent at 8,918.50. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 4,268.70. Shares were also lower in mainland China, New Zealand and Taiwan.

But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.3 percent to 20,262.99 and South Korea's Kospi index was 0.4 percent higher at 1,850.56. Benchmarks in the Philippines and Singapore also rose.

A persistently strong yen continued to place a drag on Japan's powerhouse export sector, particularly consumer electronics. Panasonic Corp. lost 2.3 percent, Sony Corp. fell 1.7 percent and Toshiba Corp. dropped 1.8 percent. Copier maker Ricoh Co. lost 0.7 percent.

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