Nov 23, 10:30 PM EST

Asian shares lower, China in focus after big selloff

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AP Photo/Vincent Yu

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HONG KONG (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mostly lower Friday with investors finding little guidance with Wall Street closed for the Thanksgiving holiday and Chinese markets in focus after a big sell-off the previous day.

KEEPING SCORE: Japanese shares resumed trading a day after a holiday, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index shedding 0.3 percent to 22,446.13. The Shanghai Composite index in mainland China slipped 0.4 percent to 3,338.65 after hitting a fresh two-month low. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rebounded 0.2 percent to 29,777.81 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,538.42. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent to 5,965.30.

CHINA TRADING: Investors were warily watching shares on mainland exchanges following the previous day's decline, when they tumbled in the final hour of trading, sending the Shanghai Composite down 2.3 percent. Traders blamed factors including tightening liquidity following reports the government is clamping down on online lenders and jitters over bond markets.

ANALYST INSIGHT: "Perhaps the focal point in the session ahead is on Chinese equity markets," Chris Weston, chief strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote in a commentary. "By all accounts, the market has got quite concerned about the recent rise in both government and corporate bond yields, which certainly makes sense given Chinese corporates have to roll over close to $600 billion in debt that comes due in 2018, so higher yields make the cost to do this more expensive."

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

OIL: Energy futures were mixed. U.S. benchmark crude rose 45 cents to $58.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 20 cents to $57.82 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 17 cents to $63.38 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 111.32 yen from 111.22 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro climbed to $1.1856 from $1.1854.

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