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Major US stock indexes close slightly lower; oil price slips

Associated Press logo Associated Press 30/12/2016
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Global shares mostly fell in thin trading Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, taking their cues from a slide on Wall Street. A stronger yen helped send Japanese stocks lower. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Global shares mostly fell in thin trading Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, taking their cues from a slide on Wall Street. A stronger yen helped send Japanese stocks lower. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

SEOUL, South Korea — Asian stock markets were mixed Friday with little economic news to move the markets on the final trading day of 2016.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 percent to 19,067.74 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent to 21,970.92. China's Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.1 percent to 3,099.35. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.4 percent to 5,678.20. South Korean markets were closed for holiday.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Wall Street can be seen repositioning toward the New Year and that could be the case for Asia as well amid moderate movements in major markets," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore. "Pressure may nevertheless set in for markets that have underperformed lately in Asia."

WALL STREET: Wall Street closed with slight losses on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 13.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,819.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.66 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,249.26 The Nasdaq composite lost 6.47 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,432.09.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 7 cents to $53.84 per barrel in New York. The contract fell 29 cents to close at $53.77 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 1 cent to $56.84 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 116.79 yen from 116.37 yen. The euro fell to $1.0525 from $1.0556.

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