TOKYO (AP) – Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street started a week after the holidays on a lackluster note.
Shares rose in Tokyo and Sydney, but fell in Hong Kong, Shanghai and South Korea. Weaker growth in China’s manufacturing sector, based on surveys of factory managers, has undermined buying sentiment.
Market players are eagerly awaiting US employment data, which is also expected to show growth. They are also monitoring comments from Federal Reserve officials on inflation, a concern hanging over markets as economies regain momentum with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, particularly in the United States.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.4% in morning trading to 28,932.04. The Australian S & P / ASX 200 gained 0.9% to 7,210.90. South Korea’s Kospi lost less than 0.1% to 3,150.07. The Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 0.6% to 29,284.51, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.7% to 3,601.24.
The Indian Sensex index fell 0.4%. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore, but rose in Jakarta.
Economies are quickly recovering from the damage and disruption caused by the pandemic, analysts say.
“The speed of the recovery bears little resemblance to that of past downturns, which should hopefully result in less economic scarring,” RaboResearch said in a market commentary.
Progress is lagging behind in Japan and much of Asia, where immunization programs have lagged behind, although they are starting to accelerate even as many countries grapple with severe epidemics of coronavirus.
U.S. markets were closed Monday for Memorial Day and trading was volatile on Tuesday, with a mixed finish for major stock indexes, with losses in tech and healthcare companies offsetting gains elsewhere in the market.
The S&P 500 gave up an early gain, sliding less than 0.1% to 4,202.04. It shattered a three-day winning streak. The tech-rich Nasdaq was down 0.1% to 13,736.48, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1%, closing at 34,575.31.
The Russell 2000 Index added 1.1% to 2,294.74.
Traders weighed in a new report showing stronger growth in manufacturing as the coronavirus pandemic subsides in the United States, but also eagerly awaited the government’s monthly employment report update on Friday.
Expectations that the next Labor Department report will show a surge in hiring in May added to concerns about inflation and how the Federal Reserve might respond to it. This helped push bond yields significantly higher on Tuesday, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.
“The market will focus on jobs this week and the reason is the Fed will too,” Krosby said. “It’s a market that wants to assess or determine how the Fed is going to react to more inflation.”
The concern is that the global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks were to withdraw stimulus measures to combat rising prices.
Banks have been among the biggest winners as bond yields have risen, allowing them to charge more lucrative interest rates on loans. The 10-year Treasury yield fell from 1.58% on Friday to 1.61%. Bank of America rose 1.3%.
Energy stocks were the biggest winners on the S&P 500. Crude oil prices jumped more than 2%, helping to send producers higher. Exxon Mobil rose 3.6%.
“The economy continues to grow, continues to rebound,” Krosby said. “Americans travel by car, by plane, and that is reflected in the price of oil.”
Healthcare and tech companies fell, controlling gains elsewhere in the market. Abbott Laboratories fell 9.3% for the S&P 500’s biggest loss. Microsoft slipped 0.9%.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that manufacturing resumed again in May. The ISM manufacturing index stood at 61.2 last month, much better than the 60.6 expected by economists polled by FactSet.
Manufacturing has grown despite supply shortages that plagued many manufacturers for weeks, especially those in need of semiconductors. This is the latest economic data that showed the US economy was growing rapidly outside of the coronavirus pandemic.
AMC Entertainment jumped 22.7% after the operator of the theater announced a sale of shares. AMC, whose shares have risen more than 1,000% this year, are among a handful of companies that caught the attention of a group of online retail investors earlier this year, as well as companies like GameStop.
In energy trading, benchmark US crude gained 14 cents to $ 67.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped from $ 1.40 to $ 67.72 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 17 cents to $ 70.42 a barrel.
In currency trading, the US dollar rose from 109.49 yen to 109.62 Japanese yen. The euro cost $ 1.2223, compared to $ 1.2214.
AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.
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