Asia Stocks Mostly Lower Monday

TOKYO (AP) -- Asian markets were mostly lower on Monday, following another dismal day on Wall Street at the end of last week, though Chinese shares regained lost ground ahead of the release of economic growth figures.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.9 percent to 16,996.99 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent to 19,420.11. The Shanghai Composite rebounded from early losses, gaining 1.5 percent to 2,945.42 and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.1 percent to 1,879.93. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7 percent to 4,858.70. Shares in Taiwan were higher but markets in New Zealand and Southeast Asia declined.

U.S. GLOOM: The S&P 500 sank 2.2 percent Friday and has tumbled 8 percent since the year began, deflated by expectations of further declines in oil prices and fears that China is slowing more than forecast. While the U.S. economy appears relatively stable, with strong job growth and resilient consumer spending, a weakening in industrial production in recent months has raised worries over manufacturing.

CHINA ECONOMY: Fourth-quarter growth figures due Tuesday will likely show that strong consumer spending offset slowing investment, keeping growth in the last quarter of 2015 at about 6.8 percent or higher, analysts say. But recent volatility in Chinese markets is overshadowing those trends of stabilization in China's growth picture.

THE QUOTE: "Friday's capitulation in Chinese equities has brought global markets back to the precipice of the August sell-off. Most markets globally are teetering on the edge at technical supports that, if broken, through could see another 5-10% loss in value," Angus Nicholson of IG said in a commentary.

ENERGY: The nuclear deal between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers took effect over the weekend, ending a European oil embargo on the world's seventh-largest oil producer. That is reinforcing expectations that prices will remain weak as supply overwhelms demand. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 36 cents to $29.06 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.78 on Friday to $29.42 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 42 cents to $28.52 per barrel. It fell $1.94 to $28.94 in London on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 117.27 yen from 117.00 yen. The euro fell to $1.0892 from $1.0913.

(KA)