Asian stocks mixed after Wall St rebounds from uncertainty

BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets were mixed yesterday after Wall Street rebounded, shrugging off uncertainty about a possible new attempt to impeach President Donald Trump over last week’s attack on the United States (US) Capitol.

Tokyo, Australia and South Korea advanced while Shanghai and Hong Kong declined.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index gained less than 0.1 per cent, recovering from the previous day’s decline.

Analysts suggested investors were more focussed on President-elect Joe Biden’s economic stimulus plans after he takes office next week than on the aftermath of last week’s turmoil.

Democrats in Congress are discussing possibly impeaching Trump for encouraging supporters who attacked the Capitol, but the president has taken few official actions since then.

“Hopes are pinned on the incoming Biden administration, leveraging Democrat Senate majority, to emphatically tackle COVID,” said Mizuho Bank in a report.

A trader works on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AP

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 per cent to 3,583.95 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.1 per cent to 28,462.78. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.2 per cent to 28,215.71. The Kospi in Seoul added 0.6 per cent to 3,141.52 and the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was up 0.1 per cent at 6,686.60. India’s Sensex opened down less than 0.1 per cent at 49,479.37. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets advanced.

Investor hopes have been boosted by the rollout of coronavirus vaccines. Markets have risen despite a spike in case numbers in the US and some other countries.

In the US, those hopes have been encouraged by the shift in control of the Senate from Republicans to Biden’s Democratic Party. That might reduce the likelihood of political opposition if Biden introduces a more ambitious stimulus plan. He has said he will release details today.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 3,801.19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent to 31,068.69. The Nasdaq composite added 0.3 per cent to 13,072.43.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 57 cents to USD53.78 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 96 cents on Tuesday to USD53.21. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 68 cents to USD57.26 per barrel in London. It gained 92 cents the previous session to USD56.58.

The dollar declined to 103.70 yen from Tuesday’s 103.83. The euro rose to USD1.2214 from USD1.2201.