Asian stocks drift on disappointing US data

Asian stocks drift on disappointing US data

Tokyo: Asian stock markets drifted in a narrow range on Wednesday, and their gains were limited on disappointing US economic data.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average rose 17.31 points, or 0.2%, to 10,309.94 in the morning session.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1% to 2,735.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.5% to 22,725.38. South Korea’s Kospi was just 0.2% at 2,036.78.

Elsewhere, shares in Malaysia and Singapore rose marginally, but those in Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan declined in thin Asian trading.

Across the region, sentiment was sluggish as US consumer confidence unexpectedly worsened in December, hit by worries over the job market, according to a survey Tuesday by the private research group Conference Board.

Investors were also cautious after the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, a broad gauge of US home prices, found house prices in 20 US cities all fell in October.

In New York overnight, the Dow Jones industrial average rose just 20.51 points, or 0.2%, to 11,575.54. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 4.39, or 0.2%, to 2,662.88.

In currencies, the dollar fell to ¥82.27 in Tokyo on Wednesday from ¥82.42 in New York late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.3127 from $1.3117.

Benchmark crude for February delivery fell 16 cents to settle at $91.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.