Asian stocks mostly lower as investors mull company earnings

HONG KONG (AP) " Stocks retreated in most Asian markets on Thursday as investors assessed a fresh round of corporate earnings from major companies across the region.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.5 percent to 17,303.27 while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3 percent to 2,019.09. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.1 percent to 23,059.20 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China dipped 0.4 percent to 3,104.99. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.7 percent to 5,322.10. Benchmarks in Southeast Asia were mixed.

PROFIT AND LOSS: Investors were evaluating the latest batch of quarterly profit reports from big companies. Samsung's profits slumped 17 percent for the July-September period after it recalled and discontinued its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 phone. Nintendo reported a six-month operating loss after trading closed Thursday in Japan. It also slashed its full year operating profit forecast despite worldwide success of the "Pokemon Go" game. National Australia Bank's annual profit tumbled 94 percent on the sale of its troubled British banking and life insurance businesses.

GLOBAL OUTLOOK: Markets are subdued as investors await a fresh batch of data for indications on the state of the world economy. Notably, British GDP data due out later Thursday will give the first sign of the impact of the country's vote in June to leave the European Union.

A U.S. GDP report is due Friday, while next week the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan have policy meetings.

TRADER'S TAKE: "Investors are just taking a break to wait for some major good news to get back to the market," said Jackson Wong of Huarong International Securities. "In the medium term the stock market actually looks pretty good, but it's just that the short-term things are bothering investors."

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks had a mixed finish. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.2 percent to 18,199.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,139.43. The Nasdaq composite shed 0.6 percent to 5,250.27.

ENERGY: Oil prices stabilized after falling for three straight days. U.S. benchmark crude futures rose 6 cents to $49.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 78 cents to $49.18 overnight. Brent crude, the international standard, added 12 cents to $51.16 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 104.42 yen from 104.66 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.0903 from $1.0906.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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