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Asian Stocks Mixed Wednesday           09/18 05:23

   Asian stock prices were mixed Wednesday after oil prices fell back and Wall 
Street advanced.

   BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stock prices were mixed Wednesday after oil prices 
fell back and Wall Street advanced.

   Benchmarks in Shanghai and Seoul advanced while Tokyo and Hong Kong slipped.

   Markets steadied following a decline Tuesday in crude prices that spiked 
after a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility. The Saudi oil minister said 
half of production that was cut already had been restored.

   "Concerns surrounding elevated oil prices have eased," said Mizuho Bank in a 

   The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.3% to 2,985.66 and the Kospi in 
South Korea picked up 0.4% to 2,070.73. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 declined 0.2% to 
21,960.71. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up 0.2% to 26,774.99 and Australia's S&P 
ASX 200 shed 0.2% to 6,681.60.

   Investors were looking ahead to a possible decision Wednesday by the U.S. 
Federal Reserve to cut its benchmark interest rate by another quarter point 
following a reduction in July that was its first in a decade.

   Wall Street gained after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York took the 
unusual step of injecting $53 billion into markets to ease tight credit 
conditions that were pushing interest rates higher.

   "The underlying issue is the growing scarcity of excess reserves in the 
system," Chris Weston of Pepperstone Group said in a report.

   Elsewhere in Asia, India's Sensex added 0.4% to 36,622.26. Taiwan advanced 
while New Zealand retreated.

   On Wall Street, the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3% to 
3,005.70. It is back to within 0.7% of its record set in late July.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% to 27,110.80. The Nasdaq 
composite gained 0.4% to 8,186.02.

   Energy stocks slumped to give back nearly half of their huge gains from a 
day earlier. Rising prices for technology stocks and companies that sell to 
consumers made up for those losses.

   Investor worries about the U.S.-Chinese tariff war were temporarily 
overshadowed by the weekend attack on oil producer Saudi Aramco's facility in 
Abqaiq. Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility, but U.S. officials said they 
suspected Iran.

   Crude surged more than 14% on Monday, about as much as it did when Iraq 
invaded Kuwait before the 1991 Gulf War. The attack forced Abqaiq to cut 
production equivalent to 5% of the global total, but Saudi oil minister said it 
would be completely restored by the end of the month.

   On Wednesday, Japan's government reported exports fell for a ninth month in 
August, declining 8.2% in August from a year earlier.

   "Exports are likely to remain weak over the coming year," Marcel Thieliant 
of Capital Economics said in a report.

   The Chinese government announced it will release pork from stockpiles to 
rein in surging prices ahead of the Oct. 1 celebrations of the ruling Communist 
Party's 70th anniversary in power.

   Pork prices have soared almost 50% from a year ago due to a devastating 
outbreak of African swine fever, which has killed or prompted authorities to 
destroy more than 1 million pigs.

   ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 42 cents to $58.92 per barrel in 
electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged 
$3.56 on Tuesday to close at $59.34. Brent crude, used to price international 
oils, fell 27 cents to $64.28 per barrel in London. It fell $4.47 the previous 
session to $64.55.

   CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 108.21 yen from 108.12 yen on Monday. The 
euro declined to $1.1054 from $1.1072.


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