Hong Kong and Shanghai dropped while Sydney and Seoul gained
Markets were mixed in Asian on Friday after Wall Street edged higher, preserving their gains for the week.
Hong Kong and Shanghai dropped while Sydney and Seoul gained. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.
Surges in Covid cases around the region are prompting governments to tighten pandemic restrictions that are expected to slow business activity and keep travel to a minimum.
Thailand reported a daily record of 14,575 cases, with 114 deaths, as stricter restrictions were implemented in many areas. The central bank, meanwhile, has said the latest outbreak could cause the economy to contract by 2% this year, instead of the recovery it had earlier forecast.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in Bangkok inched down 0.1%. In Seoul, the Kospi rose 0.2%, while Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.1%.
Regional trading was muted, with markets in Japan closed for a holiday ahead of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 1% to 27,438.68 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.7% to 3,551.55.
The declines came as Bloomberg reported regulators were planning more penalties for ride-sharing giant Didi, whose shares in New York dipped 11.3% on Thursday. Didi’s shares have declined over 25% since they began trading in New York last month, amid a crackdown by the Chinese government on technology companies.
Asian equities traded sideways on Friday, mirroring choppy price action on Wall Street overnight, Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a commentary. However, pandemic concerns continue to weigh on the market.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,367.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 0.1% to 34,823.35. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4% to 14,684.60.
All three indexes are near the all-time highs they set early last week.
Wall Street’s smallest companies lost ground. The Russell 2000 index shed 1.5%, to 2,199.48.
Declines for banks, energy companies and industrial stocks were offset by gains by Apple, Microsoft and other big technology stocks.
Trading was mostly muted as investors reviewed the latest corporate earnings and a surprise rise in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits.
Investors are now eyeing the US Fed’s policy meeting next week for hints about when the Federal Reserve may begin to unwind some of the support that helped the economy during the pandemic.
The Labor Department reported unemployment claims rose last week to 419,000, the most in two months and more than economists were expecting. Economists said it was most likely a blip caused by some one-time factors and partly a result of the inevitable bumpiness in the week-to-week data.
The 10-year Treasury note’s yield advanced to 1.28% from 1.26% Thursday. The benchmark yield has recovered from its low yields earlier in the week, but is still trading at relatively low levels given that the economy is in a recovery.