Asian markets fluctuated Monday with activity thinning out as investors wind down for the Christmas break, while confidence remains buoyed by relief at the China-US trade deal.

Global equities are enjoying a flourish at the end of the year, having been on a roller-coaster ride for 12 months owing to the long-running trade row and Brexit.

And observers say that with those two major issues cleared up for now, 2020 could see a healthy run-up in prices, boosted by looser central bank monetary policy as well as signs of improvement in economies around the world.

Wall Street provided yet another record-breaking lead after data confirmed the US economy enjoyed reasonable growth in the third quarter, while other reports showed personal income and consumer confidence improving.

The New York gains lent some support to Asian markets but dealers there struggled to build any momentum.

Hong Kong finished up 0.1 percent and Tokyo was barely moved.

Shanghai sank more than one percent despite news that China had slashed import tariffs on a range of goods from computer and phone parts to medicines and food including pork. While the move is not linked to the US trade deal, analysts said it does highlight the government's desire to appear to be freeing up its markets

Sydney fell 0.5 percent, while Singapore rose 0.2 percent and Seoul was flat.

Mumbai dropped but there were small gains in Bangkok, Wellington, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila.

With very little by way of market-moving events on the horizon, analysts are expecting a quiet week.

"Short of a significant headline bomb... Asia is likely to be in extended lunch mode ahead of the midweek break globally," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Oil prices extended Friday's losses as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia close in on a deal that will see them restart output in a shared zone along their border.

Production has been on hold in the region for about four years and the restart could see as much as 500,000 barrels hit the market.

Still, prices are up around a fifth over the year, with support coming from news of the China-US trade deal.

Asian Markets
Investors are in wind-down mode as the Christmas break approaches Photo: AFP / Daniel ROLAND

In early trade London dipped 0.2 percent, Frankfurt eased 0.1 percent and Paris was flat.

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT at 23,821.11 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 27,906.41 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.4 percent at 2,962.75 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,569.26

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3010 from $1.3000 at 2140 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.19 pence from 85.20 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1083 from $1.1074

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.38 yen from 109.47 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 14 cents at $66.00 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 21 cents at $60.23 per barrel

New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 28,455.09 (close)

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