Asia shares rise despite oil worries

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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 23 Mar 2018, 06:45 GMT *Chart shows local time Nikkei 225 one month chart
value change %
20617.86 -

Most Asian stock markets ended higher on Wednesday despite further falls in oil prices and growing concerns over the eurozone's economy.

Following its worst day since March, Japan's Nikkei 225 finished the trading day little changed at 16,885.33.

Brent crude oil prices dipped below $50 a barrel for the first time since May 2009 to $49.92.

US crude also fell below $50 to $47.92 and the price has now more than halved since mid-2014.

In addition to worries over oil prices and the political turmoil in Greece, a survey published on Tuesday indicating the eurozone saw anaemic growth in December further fuelled investor concerns.

However, investors in China shrugged off the global news with shares heading higher.

The Shanghai Composite ended up 0.7% at 3,373.95, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed up 0.8% at 23,681.26.

Energy shares hit

Australia's share market remained in negative territory all day, with the S&P/ASX 200 closing down 0.2% at 5,353.61 points, with shares in energy firms bring hit by the falling oil prices.

Shares in Santos, one of the nation's major oil and gas exploration firms, were down more than 1.3% at the end of the trading day, while resource giant BHP Billiton's shares finished flat.

Kara Ordway, a market strategist at City Index, said the Australian market looked weak but that it was "kind of a follow through from what we've seen in the US overnight".

Leading US stock indexes closed lower for the fifth consecutive trading session on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 clocking its worst losing streak since late 2013.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi reversed earlier losses and moved into positive ground by the end of the day, closing up 0.7% at 1,883.83.

Shares in Korean Air Lines continued to fall, sliding 4.7%. Its shares had dropped more than 6% on Tuesday after announcing it would sell more than 500bn won ($455m) worth of new shares as it seeks to reduce its debt.

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