By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer
Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment.
Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%.
“Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is due to elect a new prime minister to succeed Yoshihide Suga, adding to uncertainty over future policy, but fresh stimulus for the economy is expected in the coming weeks, analysts say.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5% to 30,070.19, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed early gains, falling 0.5% to 26,236.74. The Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.3% to 3,666.22. In Seoul, the Kospi lost 0.9% to 3,158.63. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4% to 7,504.30, and benchmarks declined in Taiwan and Singapore.
In New York, gains for some Big Tech companies nudged the Nasdaq composite barely higher to another record, while the benchmark S&P 500 slipped 0.3%, breaking two weeks of gains. The Dow industrials lost 0.8%.
The pullback in stocks came as traders returned from the Labor Day holiday weekend to a relatively light week of economic data. The last big economic snapshot, the August jobs report, came in weaker than expected last Friday.
“Scratching my head to make sense of it all, it appears that U.S. markets are concerned about the hoped-for post-pandemic recovery being somewhat less exuberant than hoped,” Halley said.
The S&P 500 fell 15.40 points to 4,520.03. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 269.09 points to 35,100, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 0.1% to 15,374.33, it’s fourth consecutive record high.
Small company stocks declined. The Russell 2000 index lost 0.7% to 2,275.61.
A rise in bond yields helped out bank stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.37% from 1.32% on Friday. Bank of America rose 0.7%.
Industrial sector stocks were among the S&P 500′s biggest decliners. Deere & Co. slid 4.5% and 3M lost 8.8%.
Volatility is expected to pick up in the coming days and weeks, after stocks churned higher throughout the summer, helped by stronger-than-expected earnings from big companies and guidance from the Federal Reserve that the central bank plans to keep interest rates low.
Investors have a few economic reports on tap for the week.
On Wednesday, the Labor Department will report job openings for July. The jobs market is still struggling to recover from the pandemic and employers have been finding it difficult to fill openings amid lingering health fears and the resurgent virus could make it even more difficult.
On Friday, investors will get another update on inflation when the Labor Department reports on inflation at the wholesale level before costs are passed on to consumers.
In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 14 cents to $68.49 per barrel. It lost 94 cents to $68.35 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard for pricing oil, edged 2 cents higher to $71.71 per barrel.
The dollar was almost unchanged at 110.35 from 110.29 Japanese yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.1842.
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