By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
TOKYO (AP) – Asian benchmarks mostly slipped on Wednesday, as the region’s tech stocks echoed a similar drop in the sector on Wall Street.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark rose 0.1% to close at 29,332.16. The Australian S & P / ASX 200 fell 0.3% to 7,565.80. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.3% to 2,950.71. The Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 1.3% to 22,985.05, while the Shanghai Composite lost 1.0% to 3,596.03.
Concerns continue over COVID-19, as reports of the more contagious omicron continue to grow in the region.
In Japan, many people are ignoring warnings to take precaution and crowds have come out at levels near pre-pandemic levels in Tokyo, where booster shots have barely started. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised to speed them up, starting with health professionals.
âThe region could continue to see an increase in the spread of the omicron virus to come, but recent manufacturing PMIs appear to be holding up for now. The risk may lie in further restraint measures, which could cloud the outlook for the services sector, as well as disruption of supply chains, âsaid Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore, referring purchasing managers’ indices, an economic indicator for the manufacturing sector. and the service sectors.
Analysts expect trade in Asia to remain choppy for some time. Daily reported COVID-19 cases are still low compared to Europe and the United States. But outbreaks are coming quickly, exceeding 1,000 in Japan recently.
Experts’ opinion is divided between those who believe that omicron may trigger fewer serious illnesses and those who advise more caution. Any restrictions on commercial activity are sure to weigh on the recovery that all nations are counting on to happen soon.
âGlobal markets appear to view Omicron as an existential threat, with some suggesting the Omicron variant represents the ‘last hurray’ for Covid. Hopefully they’re right. But activity in Asia could take one more final blow before we can. return to a semblance of normalcy, âsaid Robert Carnell, regional head of Asia-Pacific research at ING.
The drop in tech stocks left the S&P 500 down slightly on Wall Street on Tuesday, even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked another all-time high.
The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 4,793.54, while the high-tech Nasdaq composite fell 1.3% to 15,622.72 after a choppy day of trading. The Dow Jones rose 0.6% to 36,799.65, in part thanks to strong gains from Caterpillar and JPMorgan Chase, which rose 5.4% and 3.8% respectively.
The Russell 2000 Index fell 0.2% to 2,268.87.
Banks were among the biggest winners as bond yields rose, pushing the 10-year Treasury yield to 1.65% from 1.63% on Monday night. The yield was 1.51% on Friday. When investors sell bonds, their prices go down and their yields go up.
Stocks got off to a good start to 2022 on Monday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow reaching new highs. A mix of economic data and quarterly corporate earnings reports should give investors a glimpse of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the persistent rise in inflation on businesses and consumers.
The job market will be a priority for investors, starting with the Labor Ministry’s employment report for December, which will be released on Friday.
Some sectors of the economy are still struggling, especially with supply chain issues. Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed in December to an 11-month low, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a professional group of purchasing managers. The organization will release its December report for the services sector on Thursday.
Investors are also awaiting the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting in December, due for release on Wednesday.
Walgreens, Constellation Brands and Conagra released their latest quarterly results on Thursday.
In energy trading, US benchmark crude fell 8 cents to $ 76.91 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 91 cents to $ 76.99 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 6 cents to $ 79.94 a barrel.
In currency trading, the US dollar edged down to 116.00 Japanese yen from 116.16 yen. The recent range of the dollar to the yen is at its highest in five years, and a cheaper yen may be an advantage for Japan’s giant exporters. The euro cost $ 1.1299, compared to $ 1.1286.
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