Asia stocks down amid Lunar New Year holidays
Asian stocks down amid lingering jitters about weakness in developing nation markets
Associated Press
2014-02-03 11:22 AM

TOKYO (AP) -- Asian stocks fell Monday after Wall Street lost ground amid lingering jitters about weakness in the financial markets of some developing countries.

The Nikkei 225, the barometer for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was down 1.2 percent at 14,728.90 as the yen has reversed some of its weakness against the dollar in recent days, which is a negative for exporting stocks.

Markets were closed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Malaysia for Lunar New Year holidays. Seoul's Kospi was down 1.1 percent at 1,920.03 and Singapore's benchmark was off 0.9 percent at 2,999.10. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.2 percent to 5,179.10.

The financial markets in several developing countries including Turkey and Argentina have been shaken recently by concerns that growth will slow and money will flow out of their economies as the U.S. Federal Reserve tightens its monetary policy. That has knocked many stock markets, which were ripe for a pullback after big gains in 2013.

On Friday on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 149.76 points, or 0.9 percent, to 15,698.85. The S&P 500 dropped 11.60 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,782.59 and the Nasdaq lost 19.25 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,103.88.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was down 41 cents at $97.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 74 cents to close at $97.49 a barrel.

The euro was little changed at $1.3486. The dollar rose to 102.39 yen from 101.96 yen late Friday but is down from about 105 yen at the beginning of the year.

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