Asian stocks mostly lower on investor concern Chinese property measures will hurt GDP growth

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly lower Tuesday on investor concerns that Chinese moves to slow a soaring property market will undermine economic growth while Thai stocks vaulted on hopes of a resolution to the country's political crisis. European shares opened mixed.

Trading was generally lackluster in Asia with Japan's markets closed for a three-day holiday. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen while oil fell below $86 a barrel amid expectations that U.S. crude supplies are still increasing despite an improving economy.

China's benchmark index in Shanghai led decliners, falling 35.33 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,835.28 while Taiwan's market dropped 0.3 percent and Australia's index retreated 1 percent.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 48.31, or 0.2 percent, at 20,763.05 while Indonesia gained 0.2 percent. South Korea's Kospi, meanwhile, slipped 0.1 percent to 1,718.75. Singapore dropped 1 percent.

As trading got started in Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.6 percent while France's CAC-40 was flat and Germany's DAX added 0.4 percent. Futures pointed to slight losses Tuesday on Wall Street.

In Thailand, the benchmark stock index surged 4.1 percent after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva proposed a Nov. 14 date for fresh polls if anti-government protesters occupying central Bangkok accept his reconciliation plan and peace and stability is restored.

In other parts of Asia, sentiment was clouded by fears that China's efforts to curb inflation and property prices could slow the regional economic recovery.

On Monday, China increased the deposit reserve requirement ratio for most banks for the third time this year, the latest in a series of measures aimed at cooling the country's skyrocketing property prices.

The moves could help trigger a real estate price drop of more than 30 percent in the biggest cities and cut economic growth by 3 percentage points, Citigroup said in a report.

"The latest property tightening has erased all stimulus policies in the property sector, and is the toughest in history," Citigroup said. "The property battle could challenge the 8 percent gross domestic product growth target in the second half of the year or next year."

Prices for luxury housing rose about 50 percent last year in Shanghai and Beijing.

Signs of improving U.S. economic growth helped bolster stocks overnight. The Commerce Department said Monday that personal spending rose 0.6 percent in March, the biggest increase in five months while the Institute for Supply Management said U.S. manufacturing activity expanded last month at the fastest pace in nearly six years.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 143.22, or 1.3 percent, to 11,151.83, its biggest point and percentage gain since Feb. 16. It was the fourth largest increase of the year.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15.57, or 1.3 percent, to 1,202.26, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 37.55, or 1.5 percent, to 2,498.74.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 94.73 yen from 94.56 while euro fell to $1.3153 from $1.3190.

Benchmark crude for June delivery was down 44 cents to $85.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 4 cents to settle at $86.19 on Friday.