Asian shares waver as US midterm vote yields mixed outcome

Men look at an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday as investors awaited results from the U.S. midterm elections, which could have an impact on the global economy and trade. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Asian shares were mixed Wednesday as the Democratic Party appeared on track to take back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, potentially putting a check on President Donald Trump.

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KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell back in late trading, losing 0.3 percent to 22,085.80. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent to 5,896.90. South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.5 percent to 2,078.69. Hong Kong's Hang Seng erased earlier gains, losing 0.2 percent to 26,064.31, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.5 percent to 2,645.01. U.S. futures were higher, with the contract for the Dow up less than 0.1 percent at 25,653.00 and that for the S&P 500 adding 0.1 percent to 2,761.70.

ELECTION WATCH: The results of the U.S. midterm elections, trickling in throughout the Asian day, were largely in line with expectations that market players had factored in. The Democrats were poised to regain their majority in the House of Representatives, while the Republicans held onto the Senate. That augers a divided government that raises uncertainty over the direction of policies under President Donald Trump.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index rose 17.14 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,755.45. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 173.31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 25,635.01. The Nasdaq composite picked up 47.11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,375.96. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 8.59 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,556.10.

THE QUOTE: "The real question is whether the outcome of the midterms will in any way diminish Trump's influence on the Congress, and whether his executive reach on global trade and other multilateral engagements will be reined in," Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Oil prices have slipped after the U.S. said it would allow a group of allies to continue buying oil from Iran as long as they continued to try to reduce their imports from that nation. The U.S. reinstated sanctions on Iran this month. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 49 cents to $61.72 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 1.4 percent to $62.21 a barrel in New York Tuesday. Brent crude dipped 43 cents to $71.70.

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CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.20 yen from 113.18 yen. The euro climbed to $1.1434 from $1.1427.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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