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Asian shares, commodity prices drop after Brussels blasts

News Date: 23/3/2016 02:00:34
Asian shares gave up ground on Wednesday as worries began spreading in the markets following the explosions in Brussels, which claimed more than 30 lives. Europeans shares tumbled briefly before recouping their losses however, while Wall Street ended with mixed results. Safe havens surged, before relinquishing their gains as the dust settled.

Japan's Nikkei index lost a third of a percentage point to trade back below the important level of 17,000, while Australian stocks gave up 0.50%. China's Shanghai index skidded 0.40%, while South Korea's KOSPI index edged down 0.22%.

U.S. stock indexes ended with mixed results, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliding 41 points, or 0.23% to end at 17,582. NASDAQ Composite on the other hand rose 12 points, or 0.27% to close at 4,821. S&P 500 inched down nearly two points, or 0.1% to wrap it up at 2,049.

Commodities fell en masse today, with U.S. crude oil futures sliding half a dollar, or 1.30% to trade at $40.92 a barrel, while Brent crude futures dropped 40 cents, or one percent to hover around $41.38 a barrel. Copper futures shed half a percentage point to move around $2.280 a pound.

Investors wait for a basket of important U.S. data later today, new home sales in February expected to have jumped to 512 thousand sales, compared to January's 494 thousand, which would be good news for the volatile housing sector.

Also from the U.S., crude oil inventories last week are forecast to have risen another 2.5 million barrels, adding to the previous reading's 1.3 million increase, which would be bad news for crude prices.

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