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    MORNING BELL: Asia shares sluggish, oil drifts lower

    Asian stock markets were subdued on Monday in a week book-ended with Easter holidays across the globe and a U.S. jobs report that could affect the timing of the first hike in interest rates there. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off 0.2 percent. Australia's main index lost 0.8 percent amid weakness in commodity prices. Oil had retreated 5 percent on Friday as Yemen's conflict looked less likely to disrupt Middle East crude shipments and investors turned their focus to talks for a potential Iran nuclear deal that could put more supply on the market. Early Monday, U.S. crude was 54 cents lower at $48.33 a barrel. Brent eased 39 cents to $56.02 a barrel.

    On Wall Street the Dow ended Friday up 0.19 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.24 percent and the Nasdaq 0.57 percent. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery dipped 0.28% to $1,197.20 a troy ounce. Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery dipped 0.17% to $16.918 a troy ounce. Also in metals trading, copper for May delivery slumped 0.43% to $2.752 a pound.

    The euro was little changed at $1.0886, having in the last two weeks pulled up from a 12-year trough of $1.0457. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday reaffirmed that rates would likely start rising later this year but emphasized the pace of tightening would be gradual and data dependent.

    Investors will again have to keep a wary eye on Greece and its talks with international creditors where the parties are struggling to come up with a list of acceptable reforms. Greece will run out of money by April 20 if it does not secure funding from its European partners, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

     

     

     

     

     


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