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Asian stocks mostly higher after record Dow close; oil rises on Ukraine jitters

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BEIJING, China - Asian markets were mostly higher Monday after a rebound in U.S. tech stocks pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to a record close.

Oil rose to above $100 per barrel amid renewed anxiety over Ukraine.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 per cent to 2,022.93 despite weekend comments by China's president telling the country to get used to slower growth dampened the possibility of a new stimulus.

The regional heavyweight, Tokyo's Nikkei 225, added 0.1 per cent to 15,218.51. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.3 per cent to 21,921.59.

On Wall Street, trading Friday was choppy but the Dow closed up 0.2 per cent at a new record after a handful of big-name Internet stocks rebounded from a recent sell-off. Video service Netflix was up 2 per cent and social networking site LinkedIn rose 2.5 per cent.

"With retail sales and inflation data due in the next few days, some solid readings may help alleviate some concerns and help investors release the hand-brake," said Niall King of CMC Markets in a report.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country has to get used to the "new normal" of slower growth after the expansion of the second-largest economy decelerated to 7.4 per cent in the latest quarter.

Other Chinese leaders have ruled out further stimulus, though Beijing boosted spending on building railways and other public works in March in an apparent effort to prevent a rise in unemployment.

"This is the clearest sign I have seen that a broad-base monetary stimulus to elevate that current slowdown will not eventuate," said Evan Lucas of IG Markets in a report.

Sydney's S&P ASX 200 shed 0.3 per cent to 5,444.30. Jakarta rose while Singapore and Manila declined. New Zealand was unchanged.

Also Friday on Wall Street, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 also added 0.2 per cent while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.5 per cent.

In Europe, prices were depressed by Ukraine jitters. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.4 per cent and Germany's DAX lost 0.3 per cent. France's CAC-40 tumbled 0.7 per cent.

"The state of affairs in Ukraine is appalling," said Mizuho Bank in a report. "The fears are that separatists in Ukraine involving Russian complicity could ratchet up instability in Eastern Europe."

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. oil for June delivery rose 17 cents to $100.16 amid concern the Ukraine crisis might disrupt supplies from Russia, a major exporter.

The euro was stable at $1.375 while the dollar gained 0.1 per cent to 101.95 yen.

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