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Asia markets mixed after Wall St decline

BEIJING — Major Asian stock markets advanced Wednesday after Wall Street fell, while Chinese and Japanese markets were closed for holidays.

Overnight, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.7%, dragged down by more declines for tech stocks including Apple and Microsoft.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was little changed at 28,561.70 while the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney added 0.4% to 48,453.94.

New Zealand’s benchmark lost 1.1%, Singapore was down 0.8% and Bangkok fell 0.7%.

“With relatively light news flow and macro data, price action in the region was subdued in holiday-thinned conditions,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report.

Investors are watching corporate earnings and looking ahead to Friday’s U.S. jobs data.

Most economic data point to improving conditions but markets worry about renewed coronavirus outbreaks and a possible uptick in inflation.

Remarks by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday appeared to stoke those worries. Selling on Wall Street accelerated after Yellen said interest rates may have to rise to keep the economy from overheating. She later downplayed her comments during an interview with The Wall Street Journal after markets closed.

On Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economic outlook has “clearly brightened” in the United States but the recovery is uneven.

The S&P 500 declined to 4,164.66. The index hit an all-time high last Thursday.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 261.61 points, or 1.9%, to 13,663.50.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1% to 34,133.03.

Apple fell 3.5% and Facebook slid 1.3%. Google’s parent company dropped 1.5% and Amazon lost 2.2%.

More than half of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their results so far this earnings season, which show profit growth of 54%, according to FactSet.

Economists expect U.S. data due out Friday to show employers hired 975,000 workers last month as the economy accelerated out of the pandemic and vaccines rolled out nationwide. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 5.8% from 6%.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 43 cents to $66.12. The contract rose $1.20 on Tuesday to $65.69 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 44 cents to $69.32 per barrel in London. It advanced $1.32 cents the previous session to $68.88 a barrel.

The dollar rose was unchanged at 109.30 yen. The euro rose to $1.2025 from $1.2009.



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