Asian shares mixed as US virus aid hopes fade

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed yesterday, after Wall Street’s overnight decline as hopes faded Washington will come through with badly needed aid for the United States (US) economy before the US Presidential election.

Investors have been focussing on US economic stimulus amid global uncertainty about the continuing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which has slammed growth with social distancing restrictions, unemployment, crimped trade, as well as tourism and business closures.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.4 per cent to 23,567.04, while South Korea’s Kospi recouped earlier losses, gaining 0.3 per cent to 2,353.86. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7 per cent to 6,184.60. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched 0.1 per cent lower to 24,512.33, while the Shanghai Composite gained nearly 0.2 per cent to 3,318.09.

India’s Sensex rose 0.6 per cent to 40,691.72. Shares fell in Southeast Asia.

“As hope for a pre-election stimulus balloon deflates, and with stocks struggling to float on their own during a subpar earning season, exhaustion set in, and the laws of gravity took over,” said Axi Chief Global Market Strategist Stephen Innes.

“And with no shortage of uncertainly overshadowing the markets, investors continue to tack cautiously ahead of the final presidential debate,” Innes said in a report.

People stand near a bank’s electronic board. PHOTO: AP

Market players are looking for additional data on China’s recovery, as that could drive the sorely needed growth in the rest of Asia. Recent data out of Japan show exports to China have been recovering gradually.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 dropped 1.6 per cent, its worst day in more than three weeks. Wall Street is expecting lawmakers eventually will agree on new stimulus measures for the economy, but the odds of that happening before the November 3 Election Day have dimmed.

The S&P 500 fell 56.89 points to 3,426.92. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of big blue chips dropped 1.4 per cent to 28,195.42. The Nasdaq composite extended its losing streak to a fifth day, losing 1.7 per cent to 11,478.88.

Small company stocks also fell. The Russell 2000 gave up 1.2 per cent to 1,613.63. The index has gained seven per cent so far this month, outpacing the 1.9 per cent gain for the broader S&P 500.

Stocks have been mostly pushing higher this month after giving back some of their big gains this year in a sudden September swoon. The benchmark S&P 500 has notched a gain in each of the past three weeks. Even so, trading often has been choppy from one day to the next, reflecting uncertainty over the timing of more stimulus for the economy.

Investors were also looking ahead to another busy week of corporate earnings reports.

Across the S&P 500, analysts are expecting companies to report another drop in profits.

In energy trading, US benchmark crude gained USD.0.05 to USD41.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost USD0.06 to USD41.06 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up USD0.02 to USD42.64 a barrel.

The US dollar inched up to JPY105.53 from JPY105.43 late Monday. The euro rose to USD1.1776 from USD1.1769.