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Asian Markets Are Mixed, Cheaper Oil Helps

Asian markets were mixed Tuesday with oil prices retreating for five of the last six days, as focus centered on the potential for further economic weakness, particularly after data showed Japan's wholesale inflation at the highest in 27 years.

The U.S. dollar hit its highest level against the euro since February, rising for a sixth day as prices copper, gold and other metals also fell further as investors anticipate lower global demand. Crude oil prices fell below $114 in the Asian session.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average fell nearly 1 percent as Nippon Steel and other stocks seen linked to growth in emerging economies tumbled on concern about slowing growth in China. Metal shares such as Sumitomo Metal Mining also took a beating after copper and zinc prices slid as investors pull money out of the asset class on fears of slower economic growth.

Seoul shares closed slightly lower with losses by oil refiners and financials on outlook worries outweighing gains by exporters lifted by easier oil prices and weakness in the local currency.

Australian shares rose 0.6 percent, staging a late turnaround as institutional investors bought oversold heavyweight mining stocks such as BHP Billiton, encouraged by positive economic
news from China.

Hong Kong shares fell 1 percent, despite data showing surprisingly low inflation in China, whichtriggered a rebound in locally-listed Chinese stocks, but China Mobile fell on concern about the firm's growth. Cellphone maker Foxconn International Holdings rose 13.4 percent, adding to Monday's 9.5 percent rally, after Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to neutral from underperform on an anticipated recovery in margins.

Singapore's Straits Times Index edged lower, with Singapore Telecommunications shares sinking to a four-week low after it missed forecasts with flat quarterly earnings as a strong
Singapore dollar crimped contributions from its Asian mobile businesses.

China's Shanghai Composite Index stabilized after a 9.4 percent slide over the previous two trading days, but analysts said concern about corporate profit growth would continue to weigh on the market. Real estate companies rebounded slightly after recent weakness. Gemdale, a property developer based in Shenzhen advanced.