Asia markets mixed, Australia touches 6-year high

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Associated Press

Posted on April 28, 2014 at 4:06 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 28 at 11:04 PM

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Tuesday, with Australia's benchmark briefly touching a six-year high while other markets lacked a clear focus as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of a number of economic data reports later this week.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose to 5,554.50 early in the session, the highest since June 2008, before retreating into negative territory. It was later trading 0.4 percent lower at 5,511.60.

The movement in Australia followed a day of choppy trading on Wall Street, where stocks rose, fell and then rose again in the final hour of trading. Trading was also thin in Asia because markets were closed for a holiday in regional heavyweight Japan.

Investors were holding back ahead of a few key economic events, starting with the U.S. Federal Reserve wrapping up its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. That's followed by April manufacturing data on Thursday for China, and then monthly U.S. payroll data on Friday, which could provide further insight into the state of the world's two biggest economies.

South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.1 percent to 1,967.88 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.3 percent to 22,204.36. The Shanghai Composite index in mainland China edged up 0.1 percent to 2,005.67.

On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3 percent to close at 1,869.43. The Dow rose 0.5 percent to 16,448.74 and the Nasdaq edged down less than 0.1 percent, to 4,074.40.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3863 from $1.3854 in late trading Monday. The dollar was practically unchanged at 102.50 Japanese yen.

In energy markets, benchmark crude for June delivery edged 4 cents higher to $100.88 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 24 cents to settle at $100.84 late Monday.

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