Asian shares lower on jitters over strife in Middle East

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.

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.

"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.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 percent to 19,847.58 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.2 percent to 22,547.94. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 2,009.42 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.6 percent to 5,193.70. China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9 percent to 3,647.93. Stock benchmarks also fell in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand while Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines rose.

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.

The price of U.S. crude oil rose 5 cents to $42.93 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $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 also was up 5 cents, at $46.17 a barrel. It rose $1.29, or 2.9 percent, to $46.12 a barrel in London on Tuesday.

The dollar fell to 122.35 yen from 122.43 yen in the previous trading session. The euro rose to $1.0672 from $1.0654.