Asian shares mixed in skittish trading after Wall St decline

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Thursday, though investors appeared skittish after this week's financial turmoil and overnight losses on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1 percent to 21,890.86 but the benchmark was still nearly 4 percent below where it started the year. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.5 percent to 2,407.62. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.4 percent to 30,447.32, while the Shanghai Composite index sank 1.4 percent to 3,262.00. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2 percent to 5,890.70. Stocks in Taiwan were down slightly and Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

ANALYST'S VIEW: "Risk sentiment continues to be wobbly in markets, with U.S. equities notching a loss at the close, while Brent prices fell sharply to $65 overnight," Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary.

BOUNCING BACK: Wynn Macau, the China arm of U.S. casino company Wynn Resorts, jumped nearly 7 percent in Hong Kong after the company announced that two executives are replacing Steve Wynn as chairman and CEO. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that a number of women had accused Wynn of sexual harassment or assault, and said Wynn paid $7.5 million to settle one such case. Wynn has denied the accusations but said he was stepping down because they prevented him from filling his corporate positions effectively.

U.S. BUDGET BATTLE: Uncertainty overshadowed the fitful market recovery as Senate leaders brokered a long-sought budget agreement Wednesday that would bring the Pentagon and domestic programs an extra $300 billion over the next two years. Both Democratic liberals and GOP tea party forces were fighting the plan, raising questions about its chances just a day before the latest government shutdown deadline.

WALL STREET: Indexes rallied in the morning, bobbed up and down for much of the day, then sank in the last few minutes of trading. Energy companies dropped along with oil prices and technology companies also declined. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.5 percent to 2,681.66. The Dow edged 0.1 percent lower to 24,893.35. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.9 percent to 7,051.98.

ENERGY: Oil prices have seen extended losses since the U.S. government said last week that oil production had jumped. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 16 cents to $61.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $1.60, or 2.5 percent, to finish at $61.79 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard for oil prices, dropped 5 cents to $65.46 per barrel in London. It sank $1.35, or 2 percent, to finish at $65.51 a barrel in the previous session.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 109.77 yen from 109.36 yen. The euro rose to $1.2265 from $1.2261.

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AP Business Writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this report from Hong Kong.