By ELAINE KURTENBACH
AP Business Writer
BANGKOK (AP) — Major share benchmarks are mostly lower in Asia at the outset of the last trading week of the year as countries grapple with the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. Many markets were closed Monday for holidays. Benchmarks fell in Shanghai, Bangkok, Tokyo and Seoul. Taiwan and India were higher. Last week, the S&P 500 set a record as fears ebbed about the potential impact of omicron outbreaks. However, much is still uncertain about the variant, which is spreading extremely quickly, leading to a return to pandemic restrictions in some places. Hundreds of flights were cancelled in the U.S. over the holiday weekend, with airlines reporting COVID-related staffing problems.