Asian stocks advance after Wall St ends winning streak

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Wednesday after Wall Street broke a six-day winning streak.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney advanced. Tokyo was off 0.1%.

Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index ended down 0.1% as investors watched Washington, where President Joe Biden’s Democrats planned to move ahead without Republican help on a stimulus plan.

“Investors naturally thought it worth reducing some equity market risk after the recent volatility,” said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report. But “everything should eventually come up roses” due to optimism about stimulus, U.S. central bank support and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1% to 3,640.65 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo declined to 29,473.55. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.7% to 29,988.72.

The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.3% to 3,095.45 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.5% higher at 6,857.70.

India's Sensex opened 0.6% lower, at 51,037.70. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index slipped to 3,911.23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped less than 0.1%, to 31,375.83. The Nasdaq rose 0.1% to 14,007.70.

All three hit record highs on Monday.

Companies that deal with consumer services and products were the biggest drag on the broader market, outweighing gains in communications, industrial and health care stocks.

U.S. stocks have risen on optimism the worst economic impact of the pandemic might be past.

In Washington, Democrats have rallied around Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan for the struggling economy. It includes one-time payments to Americans plus a likely increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 9 cents to $58.27 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 39 cents on Tuesday to $58.36. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 2 cents to $61.07 per barrel in London. It added 53 cents the previous session to $61.09 a barrel.

The dollar gained to 104.58 yen from Tuesday's 104.55 yen. The euro advanced to $1.2128 from $1.2120.

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