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Asia shares mostly higher following Wall St rally

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ELAINE KURTENBACH | May 13, 2014 11:48 PM EST | AP

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TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday, supported by a new high for the S&P 500, but Japan's benchmark fell as investors locked in profits from recent gains.

The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.3 percent to 14,375.72 after a 2 percent jump the day before on a weaker yen.

South Korea's Kospi added 0.8 percent to 1,998.19 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.2 percent to 22,392.20.

Elsewhere in Asia, mainland China markets fell on weak economic data, but shares rose in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Standard & Poor's 500 topped the 1,900 mark for the first time Tuesday, driven by optimism over the economic recovery, before closing just below it, up 0.1 percent at 1,897.45.

The Dow Jones industrial average also rose 0.1 percent to 16,715.44 though the technology-focused Nasdaq composite lost 0.3 percent to 4,130.17.

European shares also rose, lifted by the U.S. rally, and signs that Germany's Bundesbank central bank may be willing to back further stimulus, including an interest rate cut, by the European Central Bank.

In other markets, the Japanese yen was trading at 102.17 to the U.S. dollar, compared with its close Tuesday of 102.26. The euro was at $1.3716, versus Tuesday's close of $1.3707.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was up 26 cents at $101.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.11 Tuesday to $101.70 a barrel, the highest close since April 24.