Greek bailout talks dents Asian shares

TOKYO - The standoff between Greece and its creditors is weighing on Asian stock markets, but improved economic data and a weak yen is lifting Japanese shares.

Shares were lackluster in many markets after an emergency meeting between Greece's new government and finance ministers from nations that use the euro ended in a stalemate.

Greek officials proposed renegotiating the terms of an international bailout that has imposed years of punishing austerity on the country. There is a risk the standoff could eventually end with Greece defaulting on its debts and leaving the euro common currency.

On Wall Street yesterday the Dow Jones industrial average edged down 6.62 points, or 0.04 percent, to 17,862.14. The S&P 500 closed flat, down 0.06 of a point to 2,068.53 and the Nasdaq rose 13.54 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,801.18.

The price of oil fell back below $50 a barrel after the Energy Department reported a rise in U.S. crude inventories, which are now at their highest level in at least 80 years. The dollar rose to 120.33 yen from 120.16 yen in the previous day. The euro dropped to $1.1309 from $1.1319.