Asian shares mostly lower as investors watch strife in Middle East

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TOKYO — Asian stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday as investors kept a wary eye on developments in the Middle East after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.5 percent to 19,821.14 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.5 percent to 22,473.38. China's Shanghai Composite Index was little changed while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 2,011.40. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent to 5,199.10. Stock benchmarks also fell in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand while Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines rose.

TURKEY-RUSSIA: The downing by Turkey of a Russian fighter plane that Turkey said had violated its airspace and ignored warnings added further complexity to the crisis in Syria. Russia said Turkey had betrayed it and that jets had not violated Turkish airspace, as NATO worked to reduce tensions at an extraordinary meeting.

THE QUOTE: "An escalation in geopolitical risk is sending a chill through the markets. Traders are opting to sit on the side lines, especially ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday," Stephen Innes, a senior foreign exchange trader for OANDA, said in a commentary.

WALL STREET: Shares were lower for most of the day after a business research group said U.S. consumer confidence had fallen in November. But the Dow Jones industrial average recovered lost ground to edge 0.1 percent higher, gaining 19.51 points to close Tuesday at 17,812.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 added 2.55 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,089.14. The Nasdaq composite index inched up 0.33 points to 5,102.81.

ENERGY: The price of oil spiked after Turkey's downing of the Russian fighter jet, but was falling back Wednesday. U.S. crude oil was down 8 cents to $42.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.12, or 2.7 percent, to $42.87 a barrel in New York on Tuesday, following a 3.4-percent jump on Monday. Brent crude lost 5 cents to $46.07 a barrel. It rose $1.29, or 2.9 percent, to $46.12 a barrel in London on Tuesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 122.33 yen from 122.43 yen in the previous trading session. The euro rose to $1.0699 from $1.0654.

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