Asia stocks ebb on U.S. budget deadlock

BANGKOK — Asian stock markets ebbed in holiday-thinned trade Monday as investors wait for a resolution to the U.S. budget deadlock.

With the Oct. 17 deadline to increase the U.S. debt ceiling looming, Republican leaders have said they would vote to extend the government’s borrowing authority for six weeks while a spokesman for President Barack Obama said he would “likely” sign a bill to increase the nation’s ability to borrow money. But negotiations over the weekend did not reach a conclusion.

An agreement could also end the partial government shutdown that has idled about 350,000 Federal workers without pay for nearly two weeks.

Trading was muted in Asia, with markets in Tokyo and Hong Kong closed for holidays.

Outside of those major financial centers, China’s Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.5 percent at 2,238.39 and South Korea’s Kospi was off 0.1 percent at 2,024.03. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.5 percent to 5,208.10. Markets in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were also down.

Wall Street rose for a second day Friday as investors bet lawmakers would reach agreement to raise the debt limit and prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt payments, a possibly that has upset markets since mid-September. U.S. government bonds are usually considered the world’s safest investment, so even the possibility of a default is unnerving for investors.

The Dow rose 0.7 percent to close at 15,237.11. The Standard &Poor’s 500 added 0.6 percent to 1,703.20. The Nasdaq gained 0.8 percent to 3,791.87.

In energy markets, benchmark crude for November delivery was down 13 cents at $101.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 99 cents to close at $102.02 on Friday.

The euro rose to $1.3563 from $1.3554 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 98.27 yen from 98.19 yen.

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