Asian stocks mixed ahead of Britain's referendum

TOKYO – Asian shares were mixed Thursday ahead of a vote on whether Britain will opt to remain in the European Union.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.4 per cent to 16,122.53 in early trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up 0.1 per cent to 20,819.97, The Shanghai Composite edged down 0.3 per cent to 2,896.12. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4 per cent to 1,985.38. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1 per cent to 5,278.40.

BRITAIN VOTE: Investors are watching for the outcome of the referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union. An exit may send global shares tumbling, analysts say.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 48.90 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 17,780.83. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3.45 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,085.45. The Nasdaq composite edged down 10.44 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4,833.32.

THE QUOTE: “Is Brexit really important? To Britain itself, sure,” a report from DBS Bank in Hong Kong said. “To the rest of the world, not so much. From a real economy perspective, Britain could fall off the map tomorrow, and Asia’s growth would replace it — and add three more — over the next 8.5 years. No one likes to see self-harm, but the fact is Britain hasn’t played a smaller role in the global economy for 400 years.”

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 49 cents to $49.62 a barrel. It lost 72 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $49.13 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 46 cents to $50.34 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 104.62 yen from 104.45 yen. The euro rose to $1.1341, up from $1.1271.


Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington and AP Markets Writer Marley Jay in New York contributed to this report.

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