Asian stocks markets retreat after Wall Street loss

Stock trader Luke Scanlon, right, works at the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, in New York. U.S. stocks are lower Thursday morning as health care companies take more losses. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Most Asian stock markets have declined in thin trading ahead of the Christmas holiday after Wall Street fell for a second day

BEIJING — Asian markets were lower Friday after Wall Street fell for a second day as ahead of the Christmas holiday.

KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.6 percent to 21,506.05 and Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.5 percent at 3,124.10. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.4 percent to 5,620.61 and Seoul's Kospi was off just under 1 point at 2,036.43. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Jakarta also retreated. New Zealand and other Southeast Asian markets advanced.

WALL STREET: Retailers pulled U.S. stocks lower after a record close for the Dow Jones industrial average earlier in the week. Investors dumped retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Staples and Dollar Tree. Companies linked to investor Carl Icahn climbed after he was named as an adviser to President-elect Donald Trump. The Dow shed 23.08 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,918.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,260.96. The Nasdaq composite dipped 24.01 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,447.42.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Santa has taken a leave of absence into the end of the week with a pullback seen on Wall Street and certainly has a huge portion of the market as low volume remains the theme," said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. "Traders have been closing their position into the end of the year and have brought down most of the sectors on the S&P 500 index with the exception of energy and defensives - telecommunications and utilities. Asian indices could remain depressed into the end of the year."

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 29 cents to $52.66 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 46 cents on Thursday to $52.95. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 31 cents to $54.74 in London. It rose 59 cents the previous session to $55.05.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 117.47 yen from Thursday's 117.45 yen. The euro improved to $1.0444 from $1.0439.

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