Chinese shares end turbulent year down

Shanghai shares Image copyright AFP

Chinese stocks were mostly lower on the last day of 2015 in thin trading with some of Asia's biggest markets closed ahead of the new year.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 0.2% at 21,914.40, while the Shanghai Composite ended down 0.4% at 3,539.18.

The index was 9.4% higher for the year, making it one of the best performing markets globally.

Investors were also holding off ahead of manufacturing data due out on Friday.

The data should shed light on the extent of the slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

Economists expect the manufacturing surveys to show factory activity shrinking again in December.

Several markets closed early on New Year's Eve such as Hong Kong and Australia, while Japan and South Korea were closed for public holidays.

Oil continues to weigh

In Sydney, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.5% to 5,295.9, but lost more than 2% for the year.

That marked the index's first annual fall since 2011 as slumping iron ore and metal prices hit blue chip mining stocks, while new rules hurt the banking sector.

Sliding oil prices hovering around 11-year lows capped gains in energy-related stocks in Australia and across the region.

"The correlation between moves in the oil price and equity markets are becoming increasingly concerning and do not bode well for today's Asia session," said market strategist Angus Nicholson at trading firm IG in a note.

Crude oil prices held losses after falling 3% overnight.

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