Global Shares Track Wall St. Weakness

Global Shares Track Wall St. Weakness

TOKYO (AP) -- Shares were lower Wednesday in Asia after a flip-flop session on Wall Street, where the Dow industrial average ended almost flat after backtracking from a broad rally earlier in the day.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.3 percent to 7,733.92 and the CAC 40 of France also fell 0.3 percent, to 5,500.18. Germany's DAX lost 0.2 percent to 13,220.70. Wall Street looked set to regain momentum, with Dow futures up 0.4 percent at 25,933.00 and S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent to 2,788.60.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.4 percent to 23,868.34 and the Kospi in South Korea shed 0.3 percent to 2,515.43. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.5 percent to 6,015.80. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rebounded from earlier losses to gain 0.3 percent, closing at 31,983.41 while the Shanghai Composite index added 0.2 percent to 3,444.67.44. India's Sensex added 0.8 percent to 35,035.49. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "U.S. equity markets flip flopped returning from the Martin Luther King Day holiday and coupled with the softer oil prices, set Asian markets for a day of contemplation," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

JAPAN MACHINERY: Orders for machinery were the highest in almost a decade in November, rising nearly 12 percent from a month earlier, the government reported Wednesday. The strong demand suggests companies are investing to expand production capacity that likely would support growth in coming months, analysts said.

BITCOIN: The price of bitcoin extended its slump, triggered by comments by a South Korean financial policymaker who said that banning trading in digital currencies was an option. The price of one bitcoin fell 5 percent to $10,784.02 as of 0930 GMT Wednesday according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were down 2.3 percent at $10.800. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin. The price of bitcoin soared last year after starting 2017 under $1,000, but has languished this year amid signs of increased scrutiny from governments. Many finance pros believe bitcoin is in a speculative bubble that could burst any time.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 12 cents to $63.61 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 57 cents to $63.73 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 24 cents to $68.91.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.76 yen from 110.49 yen on Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.2237 from $1.2258.

(BE)