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Asia: Shares mostly lower after Wall St losses

[HONG KONG] Asian markets were mostly lower Tuesday morning as profit-takers moved in after recent gains, while Wall Street provided a soft lead ahead of the start of the corporate reporting season.

The euro edged down, but was holding up after rebounding in New York from a two-year low against the dollar, while the yen weakened ahead of a Bank of Japan policy decision later in the day.

Tokyo was flat, Hong Kong dipped 0.39 per cent, Sydney shed 1.09 per cent and Seoul was marginally higher.

Shanghai was closed for a public holiday.

Wall Street stocks - which bolted up at the end of last week in response to a surge in US jobs creation - retreated Monday as firms prepare to report their earnings, with investors worried about the effects of the stronger dollar.

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The Dow slipped 0.10 percent, the S&P 500 eased 0.16 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 0.47 per cent.

The greenback has seen strong buying interest as a series of upbeat US economic data increase the likelihood the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates sooner than initially expected.

In early Tokyo trade Tuesday it was at 109.12 yen against 108.75 yen in New York, but well down from 109.52 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday and last week's six-year highs above 110 yen.

The euro, which hit a two-year low against the dollar in Asia Monday, held up after rallying in New York on bargain-buying.

It bought US$1.2621 compared with US$1.2655 in US trade, but was much stronger than the US$1.2515 on Monday in Asia. The single currency was also at 137.56 yen from 137.64 yen.

In Hong Kong, pro-democracy demonstrations - which saw tens of thousands hit the streets last week - were thinning out Tuesday as workers returned to work.

"Asia (Tuesday) looks to be back to normal trading conditions, with mainland China back online (on Wednesday) after the week-long National Day celebrations," said brokerage IG, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

"The protests in Hong Kong have been peaceful in the most part and have petered out, allowing working conditions to return." On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery rose four cents to US$90.38 while Brent crude for November gained seven cents to US$92.86.

Gold was at US$1,206.60 an ounce against US$1,196.53 late Monday. - AFP

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