Asian stocks closed mostly lower today as trading remained thin after the Christmas holiday. While losses were tempered by upbeat news about lower unemployment claims in the United States last week, caution was the key as European markets grappled with risk.
Meanwhile in Shanghai, Chinese shares ( YAO , quote ) rose 0.18%.
Hurt by a slide in copper and gold prices, shares of Australian miners took a hit. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton fell 2.1% and 1.7%, respectively.
While making gains in morning trading, shares in Europe likewise inched down. Shares of BMW declined 1.22%, while Volkswagen stocks fell 1.20%. Investors remain on edge ahead of an Italian debt auction and Iran's threats to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.
The Chinese yuan remained flat against the dollar at 6.321. The Japanese yen fell 0.22% to 77.63 to the greenback.
Conversely, the British pound rose 0.1% to $1.5681 and the euro appreciated 0.01% to $1.3068.
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