Asian stocks mostly lower, Google boosts Nikkei

Asian stocks mostly lower, Google boosts Nikkei

Bangkok: Asian stock markets were mostly lower Monday, but Japanese tech shares were boosted by Google’s strong earnings.

Oil prices fell below $81 a barrel as a month-long rally lost momentum amid the US dollar rising moderately from recent lows.

The dollar’s slight turnaround triggered a round of profit-taking that sent shares lower, according to Jackson Wong, vice president at Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong.

“The recent rally across the board, including commodities, was based on the weak dollar," Wong said. “The weak dollar almost forced investors to invest in riskier assets."

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.1% to 9,508.88 and China’s Shanghai Composite Index also rose, gaining 0.5% to 2,984.866. But most other indexes fell.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1% to 23,517.95. Banking heavyweight HSBC was down 2.2% weighed down by US financial stocks that have been affected by mortgage problems that could cost big banks billions. Shares of Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. fell at least 4% and JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell nearly 3% Thursday on Wall Street.

South Korea’s Kospi slid 1.1% to 1,880.54. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.8% at 4,649.7. Markets in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia were also lower.

In Tokyo trade, technology stocks were cheered by solid numbers from Google Inc. Its stock soared 11% after reporting that third quarter net income jumped 32%.

Electronics and entertainment giant Sony Corp. rose 1.9%, and Panasonic Corp. added 0.7%.

Decliners included Mazda Motor Corp., which fell 0.9% after the Nikkei financial daily reported Saturday that Ford Motor co. plans to reduce its 11% stake in the Japanese automaker.

Australian miners Rio Tinto Ltd. and BHP Billiton Ltd. were weak after scrapping plans for a $120 billion iron ore joint venture in the remote Outback after antitrust regulators in Australia, Europe and Asia opposed it or demanded changes.

BHP Billiton Ltd. fell 1.5%, and Rio Tinto Ltd. was down 0.7% in late afternoon trading.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average finished Friday down 0.3% at 11,062.78. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.2% to 1,176.19. The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.4% to 2,468.77

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3890 from $1.3977. The euro had risen to $1.4100 on Friday. The dollar slipped to ¥81.22 from ¥81.43 after hitting a new 15-year low against the yen last week.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 50 cents to $80.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.44 to settle at $81.25 on Friday.