Asian shares mixed in skittish trading after Wall St decline

SEOUL, South Korea — Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday with some benchmarks erasing early morning gains. Investors remained skittish after this week's financial turmoil and overnight losses on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent to 21,700.94 while South Korea's Kospi jumped 0.7 percent to 2,414.26. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.6 percent to 30,512.92, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6 percent to 3,290.62. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 5,876.30. Stocks in Taiwan were almost unchanged and Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

ANALYST'S VIEW: "Risk sentiment continues to be wobbly in markets, with U.S. equities notching a loss at the close, while Brent prices fell sharply to $65 overnight," Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary.

U.S. BUDGET BATTLE: Uncertainty overshadowed the fitful market recovery as Senate leaders brokered a long-sought budget agreement Wednesday that would bring the Pentagon and domestic programs an extra $300 billion over the next two years. But both Democratic liberals and GOP tea party forces were fighting the plan, raising questions about its chances just a day before the latest government shutdown deadline.

WALL STREET: Indexes rallied in the morning, bobbed up and down for much of the day, then sank in the last few minutes of trading. Energy companies dropped along with oil prices and technology companies also declined. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.5 percent to 2,681.66. The Dow edged 0.1 percent lower to 24,893.35. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.9 percent to 7,051.98.

ENERGY: Oil prices have seen extended losses since the U.S. government said last week that oil production jumped. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 21 cents to $61.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $1.60, or 2.5 percent, to finish at $61.79 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard for oil prices, dropped 15 cents to $65.36 per barrel in London. It sank $1.35, or 2 percent, to finish at $65.51 a barrel in the previous session.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 109.38 yen from 109.33 yen. The euro fell to $1.2280 from $1.2392.

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