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Asia stocks lower as oil prices slip

Stocks markets suffered in Asia as oil prices gave up recent gains and Japan’s yen rallied following a lukewarm lead-in from Wall Street and more political tumult from Washington.

Tokyo’s Topix index was down 0.6 per cent as equities suffered from a firmer yen and energy stocks fell 2 per cent on slipping oil prices. The Nikkei 225 was down 0.7 per cent as well, further diminishing the odds it could cross the 20,000-point mark for the first time in two years this week.

Shares in Australia’s Wesfarmers were down 1.3 per cent after the DIY-to-retail conglomerate blamed a poor IPO climate for its decision to scrap a proposed float of its office stationary and equipment division. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.9 per cent.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng was down 0.2 per cent as gains of 0.6 per cent in real estate were offset by a 0.5 per cent dip from the energy segment. Alibaba Health, the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate’s Hong Kong-listed health arm, was up 5.2 per cent despite reporting net losses widened during the year ended March. Its parent is due to report annual earnings on Thursday.

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