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Asian stocks mixed after holiday weekend

BEIJING - Global stocks were mixed Monday in light trading after Japan reported a record annual trade deficit and investors looked ahead to economic data this week from China and South Korea.

Oil declined but stayed above $104 per barrel amid concern over simmering tensions in Ukraine.

The regional heavyweight, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index, edged down 0.03 percent to 14,512.38 after Japan's trade deficit widened by nearly 70 percent in the year ending March 31. It was Japan's third straight year of deficit.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.5 percent to 2,065.83. Investors are waiting for the preliminary version of HSBC Corp.'s survey of Chinese manufacturing due out Wednesday for signs of whether an economic slowdown has bottomed out.

The flash purchasing managers' index "will be closely watched after a raft of mixed (but mostly soft) data," Mizuho Bank said in a report. "Potential for upside resides more in stimulus prospects rather than activity pick-up."

Markets in Germany and France were closed for Easter.

Taiwan's Taiex shed 0.2 percent to 8,951.19 and Seoul's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 1,999.22. South Korea is to report data on Thursday that are expected to show economic growth slowed in the first quarter.

Singapore was flat while Manila and Jakarta rose. Markets in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong were closed for the Easter holiday.

Oil shed 23 cents to $104.07 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange amid concern about tensions in Ukraine following an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian insurgents. The contract added 44 cents in the previous session to $104.30 on concern Russian supplies might be disrupted if Europe or the United States imposes sanctions.

In currency markets, the U.S. dollar gained 0.1 percent to 102.56 yen and the euro was up marginally at $1.382.

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