Asian stock markets mixed after Wall St summit and wave of viruses


BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday after Wall Street peaked and daily new coronavirus cases in the United States hit a record high.

Tokyo and Seoul retreated while Shanghai and Hong Kong advanced.

Wall Street won its 70th record of 2021 on Wednesday.

Optimism has been tempered by data showing new cases of the virus in the United States have reached an average of 265,000 per day, in large part thanks to the more contagious variant of the omicron.

Markets “hang on to thin optimism” as health care resources take a “balancing act,” Mizuho Bank’s Tan Boon Heng said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8% to 3,626.58 after a vice trade minister said China’s total trade is expected to increase 20% in 2021 from a year earlier .

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.3% to 28,826.41 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was up 0.2% to 23,134.88.

The Kospi in Seoul was down 0.4% to 2,983.48 and the S & P-ASX 200 in Sydney was down 0.3% to 2,981.24.

Indian Sensex opened 0.2% to 57,950.97. New Zealand and Bangkok won while Singapore and Jakarta fell.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 4,793.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2% to 36,488.63. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 15,766.22.

The S&P 500 is on track for a gain of over 27% in 2021.

The benchmark, which also set records on Monday and December 23, hit more new highs in 2021 than any year since 77 in 1954. The Dow Jones set a record in early November.

Investors were encouraged by rising corporate profits and progress in vaccine development and treatment for viruses.

This was tempered by the Federal Reserve’s decision to try to calm US inflation, which is at its highest level in nearly four decades, by reversing the stimulus measures that have boosted stock prices.

The S&P 500 was supported on Wednesday by gains in healthcare, tech and consumer stocks.

Biogen jumped 9.5% for the biggest gain in the index. Target, Nike, supermarket operator Kroger and auto retailer AutoZone were up 1.3% or more.

Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, fell 0.9%, Exxon Mobil fell 0.9%, and Morgan Stanley fell 1.2%.

Trading was lighter as investors closed their positions for the year. Less than 3 billion shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, compared to a typical daily average of 4.5 billion.

Investor concerns about the omicron variant eased after researchers said it appeared to cause less severe symptoms and President Joe Biden avoided announcing travel or other restrictions that could weigh on the economic activity.

Still, markets are uncertain about the impact of omicron, which is spreading rapidly and quickly becoming the dominant variant.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 24 cents to $ 76.81 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 58 cents to $ 76.56 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the basis of international oil prices, gained 20 cents to $ 79.41 a barrel in London. It closed 29 cents higher than the previous session at $ 79.23.

The dollar rose to 115.04 yen from 114.97 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell to $ 1.1333 from $ 1.1344.


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