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Asia stocks stagnate amid uncertain global economy
Asian stock markets stagnate as traders weigh prospects of global economic slowdown
By The Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) ' Asian stock markets were stagnant Monday as investors evaluated the prospects of a global economic slowdown.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.2 percent to 10,031.37 as the yen slipped against the dollar, helping the country's powerhouse export sector. Elsewhere, however, markets began the week in negative territory after reports in China and Europe last week pointed to a likely slowdown in those economies.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped as investors contemplated what the selection of Leung Chun-ying as the semiautonomous Chinese territory's next chief executive might mean to economic growth for the city, an Asian financial center. The Hang Seng fell marginally to 20,661.36.

South Korea's Kospi index fell 0.5 percent to 2,016.50. Australia's S&P ASX/200 rose 0.2 percent to 4,278. Benchmarks in Singapore and Taiwan also fell. Indonesia and New Zealand were higher.

Commodity-sector companies rose as the dollar weakened. Since commodities are priced in dollars, a weaker dollar makes them cheaper for traders who use other currencies. Jiangxi Copper Co. added 0.3 percent in Hong Kong. Energy Resources of Australia gained 2.3 percent.

The Dow closed up 0.3 percent at 13,080.73 Friday as investors shrugged off a Commerce Department report that sales of new homes fell 1.6 percent last month. Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 1,397.11. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.1 percent to 3,067.92.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was down 31 cents to $106.56 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract was up $1.52 to end at $106.87 per barrel in New York on Friday.

The euro rose slightly to $1.3265 from $1.3263 late Friday in New York. The dollar fell to 82.74 yen from 82.49 yen.

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