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Asian Shares Fall Amid Oil Slump

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Asian stocks closed mostly lower on Wednesday, tracking losses on Wall Street overnight, after U.S. crude futures fell more than 2 percent to enter into bear market territory on concerns about oversupply amid indications of rising production in Nigeria and Libya.

A decision by U.S. index provider MSCI to add mainland China-listed shares to its widely followed stock indexes failed to boost investors' risk appetite.

Geopolitical tensions also took center stage after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that efforts by China to rein in North Korea have not worked. Trump's warning came exactly a day before U.S. and Chinese officials are to meet in Washington to talk about North Korea.

China's Shanghai Composite index rose 16.20 points or 0.52 percent to 3,156.21 following MSCI's decision to add mainland stocks to one of its key benchmarks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 142 points or 0.55 percent at 25,696 in late trade.

Japanese shares lost ground as a stronger yen as well as falling oil prices sapped investors' appetite for risk. The Nikkei average ended down 91.62 points or 0.45 percent at 20,138.79 while the broader Topix index closed 0.4 percent lower at 1,611.56.

Oil & gas giant Inpex Corp dropped 1.2 percent and Japan Petroleum lost 1.9 percent. Troubled conglomerate Toshiba gave up 2.2 percent after announcing it has chosen a US-Japan consortium as the preferred bidder for its lucrative memory chip business.

The Bank of Japan released the minutes of its April policy meeting, which showed that policymakers are more optimistic about exports and industrial production, despite relatively weak wage gains and stubbornly low inflation.

Australian shares tumbled as banks extended losses after Moody's downgrade and falling prices of commodities from crude oil to iron ore weighed on material and energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 fell 91.60 points or 1.59 percent to 5,665.70, marking its biggest single-day loss since November 9. The broader All Ordinaries index dropped 89.10 points or 1.54 percent to 5,703.20.

The big four banks lost 2-3 percent. QBE Insurance Group plunged more than 10 percent after flagging higher claims in its emerging markets businesses. Energy majors Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search tumbled 2-3 percent as oil prices hit seven-month lows.

Rio Tinto declined 2.9 percent after the mining giant snubbed a counter bid for its Australian coal assets from rival Glencore and urged shareholders to approve a previous bid by a Chinese company. Rival BHP Billiton slumped 3.8 percent and Fortescue Metals Group plummeted 4.6 percent.

Seoul stocks dropped amid selling by foreign investors after reports that U.S. spy satellites have detected new activity at an underground site in North Korea used to test nuclear weapons. The benchmark Kospi shed 11.70 points or 0.49 percent to finish at 2,357.53.

New Zealand shares joined a global sell-off after oil prices entered bear market territory. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 59.42 points or 0.78 percent to 7,527.11, with Xero, Chorus, Air New Zealand and Fletcher Building ending down 2-3 percent.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was down 0.3 percent after a government report showed the country's consumer price inflation eased at a faster-than-expected rate in May.

Elsewhere, India's Sensex was declining 0.2 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was losing 0.9 percent, while Indonesian shares were marginally higher and the Taiwan Weighted rose 0.2 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fell notably as oil prices slumped and investors eyed speeches from several Fed officials for clues on future monetary policy moves. The Dow slid 0.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.7 percent.

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