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Last updated: August 29. 2013 12:36AM - 480 Views
Associated Press



Passersby wait to cross a street in front of the day's Nikkei 225 stock index seen on a board in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. The growing likelihood of Western military action against Syria pummeled Asian stock markets Wednesday and sent the price of oil soaring. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Passersby wait to cross a street in front of the day's Nikkei 225 stock index seen on a board in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. The growing likelihood of Western military action against Syria pummeled Asian stock markets Wednesday and sent the price of oil soaring. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
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(AP) Asian stock markets rebounded Thursday as jitters about a possible international military response to the Syrian conflict began to ease.


On Tuesday, the U.S. appeared to be edging closer to intervention in Syria after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said American forces were ready to act on any order by President Barack Obama. But the prospect of an immediate international response diminished Wednesday after the U.N. Security Council's permanent members failed to agree to a proposal to use force against Syria.


That seemed to help markets find their footing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5 percent to 13,401.74. South Korea's Kospi advanced 1.4 percent to 1,910.59. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent to 21,611.14. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.3 percent to 5,073.90.


Investors have been reducing exposure to Asia's emerging markets for several weeks, anticipating that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin withdrawing its monetary stimulus. The sell-off accelerated this week when the U.S. said it had proof that chemical weapons had been used against civilians in Syria's civil war.


"Financial markets in Asia have continued to suffer this week but we continue to believe that the region will weather the storm," said Daniel Martin of Capital Economics in an email commentary.


On Wall Street, energy stocks rose sharply as the price of oil increased to the highest in more than two years. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to close at 14,824.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.3 percent to 1,634.96. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4 percent to 3,593.35.


Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 54 cents to $109.56 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.09 to close at $110.10 a barrel on Wednesday.


In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3342 from $1.3337 late Wednesday. The dollar fell to 97.57 yen from 97.74 yen.


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Follow Pamela Sampson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pamelasampson


Associated Press
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