The Jakarta Post-Asian stock markets mostly fell Monday, pressured by worries over a slowing global recovery as oil prices rose to their highest level in more than two years after the conflict in Libya escalated.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 141.73 points, or 1.3 percent, to 10,551.93. Sentiment in Tokyo was downbeat on growing political uncertainty after Japan’s foreign minister resigned Sunday over illegal political donations, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s embattled administration.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.2 percent to 23,443.57, while the Shanghai Composite index was up 1.1 percent at 2,974.77.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.6 percent to 1,993.62. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index declined 1.2 percent to 4,806.20. Shares in Taiwan were lower, but those in New Zealand and Singapore were marginally higher.
Investors were worried that soaring oil prices could stifle global economic growth by increasing transportation and production costs.
Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 75 cents at $105.17 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $2.51 Friday to settle at $104.42 a barrel, the highest level since September 2008, after fighting in Libya intensified.
Soaring oil prices spooked investors on Wall Street Friday with the Dow Jones industrial average losing 88.32 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,169.88.
In currencies, the dollar rose to 82.31 yen in Tokyo Monday from 82.27 yen in New York late Friday. The euro slipped to $1.3978 from $1.3984.