BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday after a turbulent day on Wall Street as traders tried to predict the impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Shanghai and Tokyo fell while Hong Kong and Seoul advanced.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 ended down 1.2% on Wednesday after rising 1.9% earlier today. This was despite surveys showing that hiring and factory activity in the United States in November was better than expected.
Markets were down when the White House announced the discovery of the first omicron box in the United States. It’s unclear whether the omicron is more dangerous, but governments have responded by tightening travel controls, fueling unease over the prospects for a global economic recovery.
The latest data “painted a bullish picture of economic conditions, but this appears to be lagging behind as the Omicron variant has the potential to change the landscape,” IG’s Yeap Jun Rong said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,567.70 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.7% to 27,760.67. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained less than 0.1% to 23,680.79.
The Kospi in Seoul jumped 1% to 2,930.31 while the S & P-ASX 200 in Sydney lost 0.1% to 7,227.90. The New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets fell.
The S&P 500 fell to 4,513.04. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.3% to 34,022.04. The Nasdaq slipped 1.8% to 15,254.05.
The S&P 500 posted its biggest loss since February on Friday, slipping 2.3%. It rose 1.3% on Monday and dropped 1.9% on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Institute for Supply Management reported that growth in manufacturing activity in the United States had accelerated faster than expected in November. The ADP payroll processor said employers hired more people than expected. That could raise expectations for Friday’s U.S. government employment data.
Investors have already been shaken after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the US central bank may withdraw its stimulus measures earlier than expected amid still high inflation.
The Fed’s bond purchases pump money into the financial system, pushing up stock prices. The S&P 500 has more than doubled since March 2020.
In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 64 cents to $ 66.21 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 61 cents on Wednesday to $ 65.57. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 68 cents to $ 69.55 a barrel in London. It lost 36 cents the previous session to $ 68.87.
The dollar gained 113.02 yen against 112.79 yen on Wednesday. The euro rose to $ 1.1332 from $ 1.1319.
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