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Asia shares mostly down after Wall St losses

Asian stock markets were mostly lower on Thursday as investors took a breather after the previous day's rally, taking their lead from a retreat on Wall Street.

HONG KONG: Asian stock markets were mostly lower on Thursday as investors took a breather after the previous day's rally, taking their lead from a retreat on Wall Street.

The euro continued to face pressure from the dollar and the yen ahead of next week's European Central Bank board meeting that many expect will see an easing of monetary policy.

Tokyo reversed earlier losses to end higher for a sixth straight session. The Nikkei edged up 10.77 points to 14,681.72, while Sydney fell 0.14 percent, or 7.68 points, to 5519.5 and Seoul lost 0.24 percent, or 4.80 points, to close at 2,012.26.

Shanghai shed 0.47 percent, or 9.63 points, to 2,040.60 and Hong Kong lost 0.30 percent, or 69.89 points to 23,010.14.

With key US economic data due to be released later in the day, including the second estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product, dealers were keeping to the sidelines after enjoying a healthy pick-up on Wednesday.

On Wall Street the three main indexes ended lower ahead of the indicators. The Dow dipped 0.25 percent, the S&P 500 eased 0.11 percent, snapping a two-day streak of record closes, and the Nasdaq fell 0.28 percent.

Investors are also waiting for the release on Monday of HSBC's closely-watched purchasing managers index (PMI) of manufacturing activity from China, the United States and Europe, hoping for signs of further improvement.

China is also due to unveil its own official PMI on Sunday.

On foreign exchange markets the euro fell to 138.02 yen from 138.40 yen late in New York and 138.96 yen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday, with expectations high that the ECB will announce new measures to combat tepid price rises.

The bank's chief Mario Draghi this month hinted at possible new policy moves as it struggles to prevent deflation in the eurozone.

The single European single currency also fetched $1.3591, against $1.3590 in US trade -- which was a 15-week low -- while the dollar eased to 101.54 yen from 101.84 yen.

In oil trade the US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July, climbed three cents to $102.75 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July gained 13 cents to $109.94.

Gold fetched $1,254.15 an ounce at 1040 GMT compared with $1,265.08 late Wednesday.

In other markets:

-- Bangkok gained 0.41 percent or 5.72 points to 1,408.51.

-- Kuala Lumpur's main stock index added 4.96 points or 0.27 percent to 1,876.62.

-- Mumbai fell 1.31 percent or 321.94 points to end at 24,234.15 points.

-- Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.88 percent, or 28.87 points, at 3,300.71.

-- Taipei fell 0.14 percent, or 12.71 points, to 9,109.0.

-- Manila closed 1.64 percent lower, shedding 111.21 points to 6,676.67.

-- Jakarta was closed for a public holiday.

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