Cautious start to year for Asia markets
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Asian markets started the new year on a cautious note as the region traded mixed after the holidays.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.7% to 18,907.50 as a stronger yen weighed on shares of major exporters.

The market is also catching up with to declines in the US last week after being closed for the last two sessions.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.2% to 5,305.50, while South Korea's Kospi index fell 0.6% to 1,950.15.

A jump in oil prices boosted Australia's energy sector with shares of Woodside Petroleum up 2.7% in early trade.

Brent crude gained 3%, rising as high as $38.40 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric ignited regional anger.

Investors are also looking ahead to a private manufacturing survey from China, which is expected to show another contraction in factory activity in the world's second largest economy.

The Shanghai Composite was down 0.1% to 3,534.24, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell by 1.2% to 21,642.63 points.

Date: 2016-03-15
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