Asian markets mixed as COVID weighs on investor sentiment


Asian shares were mixed on Friday after a hodge-podge of economic data led Wall Street to close mostly lower.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index NIK, -0.43% added 0.5%. The Hang Seng HSI, -0.42% in Hong Kong rebounded from losses earlier in the week to gain 0.4%. The Kospi 180721, -0.22% in Seoul edged 0.1% higher.

The Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, +0.13% lost 0.6%, while the S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.80% in Sydney declined 0.7%. Stocks gained in Taiwan Y9999, -0.98%, while benchmark indexes in Singapore STI, -1.75% and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.53% were little changed.

Across the region, concerns over prolonged outbreak of coronavirus have weighed on sentiment.

“Overall, the mood remains a little downbeat in the markets, with investors torn between the ‘buy the dip’ approach that has fared so well in the past and the growing list of economic and market risks that are increasingly evident,” Craig Erlam of Oanda said in a commentary.

In Japan, stocks have been trading near three-decade highs in anticipation of a change in leadership after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pulled out of the running for head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Suga’s support ratings had languished amid wide public dissatisfaction with his administration’s response to the pandemic.

LDP lawmakers and grassroots members will vote on Sept. 29, with a parliamentary election due next month.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 SPX, +2.37% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +2.47% each lost about 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq COMP, +2.31% managed to eke out a gain of 0.1%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.33% from 1.30% late Wednesday.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil CLV21 fell 14 cents to $72.47 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was unchanged overnight at $72.61 per barrel.

Brent crude BRNX21, the standard for international pricing, shed 18 cents to $75.49 per barrel.

The dollar USDJPY, -1.64% rose to 109.87 Japanese yen from 109.81 yen late Thursday.

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