Asian stocks mostly up after Wall St’s tech decline | Nation and world
BANGKOK (AP) – Asian markets mostly advanced on Friday after further declines in major tech stocks pushed down major indices on Wall Street.
Tokyo and Taiwan retreated, but other regional markets advanced. US futures were also higher.
A resurgence of coronavirus outbreaks has added to uncertainties about a resumption of tourism and other business activities in Asia.
The World Health Organization says a record 9.5 million cases of COVID-19 were identified in the past week as the omicron variant of the coronavirus swept the planet, a 71% increase from compared to the previous 7-day period that the United Nations health agency compared to a “tsunami.”
Asia has recorded lower numbers, but infections are rising rapidly and testing bottlenecks mean even more cases are likely going unreported. At the same time, the alarm has been subdued by signs that the omicron variant may cause less severe illness, especially in countries with high COVID-19 vaccination levels.
“The highly transmissible variant of omicron is a short-term growth risk for poorly vaccinated emerging market economies and for supply chains as part of China’s zero COVID strategy,” said Sonal Varma of Nomura in a report.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.2% to 28,435.91 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.2% to 23,337.96. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.1% to 2,952.27, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% to 3,598.62. In Australia, the S & P / ASX 200 rose 1.2% to 7,448.00.
Taiwan stocks fell 1.1% and Indian Sensex opened up 0.8%.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 4,696.05. The Dow Jones slipped 0.5% to 36,236.47. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.1% to 15,080.86, while smaller company stocks held up to the broader market, with the Russell 2000 Index gaining 0.6% to 2,206.37.
The weakness of big tech companies like Apple was the main culprit. The iPhone maker fell 1.7%. Healthcare stocks also helped push the benchmark S&P 500 down, outweighing the gains of banks, energy companies and other sectors.
Bonds continued to climb. The 10-year Treasury yield hit 1.73%, its highest level since March. It was 1.70% late Wednesday.
The sale followed a large market decline on Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve signaled it was ready to raise interest rates to fight inflation.
Stocks have been choppy this week as traders reacted to the surge in bond yields. The S&P 500 and the Dow both hit all-time highs on Monday, before losing ground on the following days. The main indices are now poised to post weekly losses.
Wall Street also weighed in on the economic data.
On Thursday, the Institute for Supply Management reported that growth in the service sector in the United States, where most Americans work, slowed in December after growing at a record pace the previous two months.
The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits increased last week but remained at historically low levels, suggesting the job market remains strong. The agency will publish its monthly employment report on Friday.
Wall Street may be bracing for a stronger-than-expected jobs report, as the latest monthly ADP payroll processor hiring survey, released on Wednesday, showed private U.S. companies hired 807,000 workers in December, more than double the consensus forecast, according to FactSet. A strong jobs report could add urgency to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to fight inflation by raising interest rates.
In other exchanges on Friday, benchmark US crude oil added 62 cents to $ 80.08 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 2.1% on Thursday, helping to push energy stocks higher.
Brent crude, the base of international oil prices, climbed 55 cents to $ 82.54 a barrel.
The US dollar was at 115.92 Japanese yen, compared to 115.85 yen on Thursday night. The euro fell from $ 1.1302 to $ 1.1302.
AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.
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