China stocks bounce back from sell-off, other Asian markets uneven after Wall St drop


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SEOUL, South Korea — Asian stock markets were uneven Wednesday as investor sentiment was dented by losses on Wall Street and doubts about Greece's ability to repay debts due to the IMF this month. Chinese markets rebounded from the previous day's sell-off.

KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi fell 1.3 percent to 2,105.17 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 1.6 percent to 5,730.80. Stocks in Southeast Asia were also lower. But Chinese markets rebounded from their biggest drop in months on Tuesday that was sparked by an upcoming wave of IPOs. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.1 percent to 28,043.79 and China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.5 percent to 4,362.21. Japan was closed for a holiday.

THE QUOTE: "It's hard to get consistency in markets at the moment and equities have been very choppy in recent weeks," Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG, said in a commentary. "A consistent theme has been the sell-off in bond markets as equities now seem to be responding to this as well."

GREECE: A standoff in talks between Greece and its lenders stoked worries in the markets. Top officials in the European Union said they are making progress on finding a way to keep the country afloat and in the 19-nation eurozone. Greece will have to scrounge for cash to make a 750 million euro repayment to the International Monetary Fund by May 12.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets closed lower on Tuesday as an increase in oil prices expectations that inflation rates and interest rates would go up. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 1.2 percent to 2,089.46. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.8 percent to 17,928.20, while the Nasdaq composite fell 1.6 percent to 4,939.33.

US JOBS: U.S. payroll processor ADP is scheduled to report later Wednesday on how many jobs private employers added in April. In March, U.S. businesses slowed their pace of hiring. Analysts said they are expecting to see an improvement in last month's data.

YELLEN SPEECH: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks on "finance and society" at the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday. While markets are not expecting a big surprise in her speech, analysts will pay close attention to her language to find any signal about the timing of the Fed's first rate hike this year.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 52 cents to $60.93 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude oil climbed above $60 a barrel for the first time this year on Tuesday following reports that a Libyan oil terminal had closed. The contract jumped $1.47 to finish at $60.40 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude added 67 cents to $68.22 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 119.91 yen from 119.93 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1228 from $1.1184.

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