Asian stock prices mixed after Wall Street slips

By JOE McDONALD 17 July 2020, 12:00AM

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Friday after Wall Street closed lower amid uncertainty about the U.S. economic outlook.

Shanghai and Tokyo retreated while Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. That followed a day of declines on weak Chinese retail spending data.

Overnight, Wall Street's benchmark S&P-500 index lost 0.3% after reports including one showing more layoffs.

“This may indicate nothing more than a short pause for repositioning, or minor correction before the next upward leg,” Robert Carnell of ING said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5% to 3,190.15 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.3% to 22,696.42. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.4% to 25,074.61.

In Seoul, the Kospi advanced 0.7% to 2,197.89 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.1% to 6,003.50. India's Sensex opened 0.5% higher at 36,630.25. New Zealand and Bangkok gained while Singapore and Jakarta retreated.

Global markets have recovered most of this year’s losses, buoyed by optimism about work on a possible coronavirus vaccine. But economists warn the rise might be too fast to be sustained by uncertain economic activity as infections in the United States and some other countries increase.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 declined to 3,215.57 on Thursday for its first loss in three days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5% to 26,734.71. The Nasdaq composite, which set a record last week, lost 0.7% to 10,473.83.

U.S. investors have been encouraged by signs of more business activity as anti-virus controls are eased. But California and some other areas have reimposed orders closing bars and some other businesses after a renewed surge in infections.

Enthusiasm was dampened Thursday by data showing 1.3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week.

Tech stocks were among the market’s hardest hit, a turnaround from their resilient run through much of the pandemic. Microsoft fell 2%. Apple lost 1.2%. Both still up roughly 30% this year on expectations that they can keep growing despite the pandemic.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 12 cents to $40.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined 45 cents on Thursday to settle at $40.75. Brent crude, the standing for pricing international oils, retreated 19 cents to $43.18 per barrel in London. It fell 42 cents the previous session to $43.37.

The dollar declined to 107.20 yen from Thursday's 107.26 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.1386.

By JOE McDONALD 17 July 2020, 12:00AM

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