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Friday December 14th, 2018 10:04PM

Asian shares mostly rise in muted trading amid growth fears

By The Associated Press
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TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher in muted trading Wednesday amid continuing worries about trade tensions and slowing global economic growth.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to finish at 23,506.04, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.1 percent to 6,049.80. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.1 percent to 2,229.12. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 26,313.65, while the Shanghai Composite gained nearly 0.1 percent to 2,722.92.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 ended down 4.09 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,880.34.The Dow Jones industrial average fell 56.21, or 0.2 percent, to 26,430.57, and the Nasdaq composite added 2.07, or less than 0.1 percent, to 7,738.02.

JAPAN MACHINERY: Data for Japan's machinery orders for August released Wednesday showed a robust increase, boosting optimism about the economy holding up. Core machinery orders rose a seasonally adjusted 6.8 percent from the previous month, according to the data.

GLOBAL WORRIES: The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its forecast for global economic growth in its latest report, citing higher interest rates and ongoing trade battles. The IMF said the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year, the same as in 2017, but down from its earlier forecast of 3.9 percent. The IMF also cut its forecast for Chinese economic growth in 2019 to 6.2 percent, which would be its slowest since 1990.

THE QUOTE: "This has weighed on risk sentiment amid worsened relations between China and the U.S. over hardware hack allegations," said Zhu Huani at Mizuho Bank in Singapore, referring to the IMF report. "Increasing degree of distrust between the two could further complicate already frosty trade talks."

ENERGY: U.S. crude fell 25 cents to $74.71 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 13 cents to $84.87 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.99 Japanese yen from 113.21 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1512 from $1.1437.

___

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