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Asian Stocks Mixed on Monday           05/17 05:55

   Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after Taiwan and Singapore tightened 
anti-coronavirus restrictions and Wall Street turned in its biggest weekly 
decline in three months.

   BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after Taiwan and 
Singapore tightened anti-coronavirus restrictions and Wall Street turned in its 
biggest weekly decline in three months.

   Shanghai and Hong Kong advanced, while Tokyo and Seoul declined.

   Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index rose Friday but ended the week down 
1.4% for its first weekly decline in three weeks.

   Taiwan and Singapore announced restrictions on public gatherings and other 
curbs over the weekend following a rise in new infections, raising concern the 
region's economic recovery might be pushed back.

   "Concerns on virus resurgences may continue to linger in the region," said 
Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.

   The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9% to 3,420.73 while the Nikkei 225 in 
Tokyo fell 1.2% to 27,753.83. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.4% to 
28,142.85.

   The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.6% to 3,135.16 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 
0.3% to 7,033.80. New Zealand and Bangkok gained while Singapore retreated.

   The 180 new coronavirus cases in Taiwan and 15 in Singapore were modest 
compared with India's thousands. But the rise in economies that had appeared to 
have the disease under control prompted concern. Malaysia, Thailand and the 
Philippines re-imposed controls earlier in response to rising infections.

   Thailand, which had managed to keep outbreaks mostly under control by 
virtually closing its borders and imposing mandatory quarantines, reported 
nearly 10,000 newly confirmed cases on Monday. About two-thirds of them were in 
prisons.

   "If the numbers are going up, even if they are still low, you don't have 
much time to nip this in the bud before you could be dealing with an India-like 
situation," said Robert Carnell of ING in a report. The economic impact "will 
depend in large part on how successful the measures now being rolled out end up 
being."

   Wall Street's gain Friday was led by technology stocks. Retailers, banks and 
industrial stocks also rose.

   The S&P 500 rose 1.5% to 4,173.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 
1.1% to 34,382.13, ending down 1.1% for the week. The Nasdaq advanced 2.3% to 
13,429.98 for a weekly loss of 2.3%.

   That followed three days of heavy selling driven by investor worries about a 
possible rise in U.S. inflation. The major indexes had hit all-time highs the 
previous week.

   Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon.com and Google's parent company all rose 
1% or more.

   Government data Friday showed U.S. retail spending held steady in April at 
the previous month's level, but that was below forecasts of a 1% increase over 
March.

   In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 32 cents to $65.69 per barrel 
in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 
$1.55 on Friday to $65.37. Brent crude, used to price international oils, 
advanced 31 cents to $69.02 per barrel in London. It closed $1.66 higher the 
previous session at $68.71.

   The dollar declined to 109.30 yen from Friday's 109.36. The euro declined to 
$1.2139 from $1.2143.

 
 
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