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Updated: Wed, 14 May 2014 02:15:00 GMT | By Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press, thecanadianpress.com

Asian stocks gain after S&P 500 breaks 1,900 mark

TOKYO - Asian shares moved higher Wednesday after the S&P 500 hit a record high, but Japan's benchmark fell as investors locked in profits from recent gains.


Asian stocks gain after S&P 500 breaks 1,900 mark

A man watches an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Asian stock markets rose after Wall Street indexes hit record highs, with Japan's Nikkei 225 leading gains as the yen weakened. The Nikkei ended up 275.92 points at 14,425.44 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

TOKYO - Asian shares moved higher Wednesday after the S&P 500 hit a record high, but Japan's benchmark fell as investors locked in profits from recent gains.

The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.3 per cent to 14,388.68 after a 2 per cent jump the day before on a weaker yen.

South Korea's Kospi added 1.0 per cent to 2,003.04 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong perked up after its midday break, gaining 0.9 per cent to 22,549.44.

Elsewhere in Asia, mainland China markets fell on weak economic data, but shares rose in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Standard & Poor's 500 topped the 1,900 mark for the first time Tuesday, driven by optimism over the economic recovery, before closing just below it, up 0.1 per cent at 1,897.45.

The Dow Jones industrial average also rose 0.1 per cent to 16,715.44 though the technology-focused Nasdaq composite lost 0.3 per cent to 4,130.17.

European shares also rose, lifted by the U.S. rally, and signs that Germany's Bundesbank central bank may be willing to back further stimulus, including an interest rate cut, by the European Central Bank.

In other markets, the Japanese yen was trading at 102.14 to the U.S. dollar, compared with its close Tuesday of 102.26. The euro was at $1.3718, versus Tuesday's close of $1.3707.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was up 36 cents at $102.06 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.11 Tuesday to $101.70 a barrel, the highest close since April 24.

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