Asian stocks struggle after weaker day on Wall Street

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BANGKOK (AP) – Stocks were mostly down in Asia on Friday after Wall Street benchmarks extended losses amid uncertainty over rising coronavirus cases and risks of a pandemic recovery.

Shares fell in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai but rose in Hong Kong. Futures prices and oil prices in the United States were almost unchanged.

The Bank of Japan kept its political parameters intact on Friday, but lowered its growth forecast slightly for the current year, to 3.5% -4% from 3.5% -4.4%. He said the outlook for the world’s No.3 economy was “very unclear” and depended on how the COVID-19 situation developed.

Tokyo on Thursday reported 1,308 a high number of new cases in 6 months, just over a week before the start of the Olympics, a year later than originally expected due to the pandemic. With most of its population not fully vaccinated, many Japanese fear the Olympics will increase the risk of further outbreaks as the delta variant of COVID-19 is causing outbreaks around the world.

Tokyo NIK Nikkei 225 Index,
-0.98%
lost 0.6% to 28,106.40 while the Kospi 180721,
-0.28%
in Seoul fell 0.3% to 3,275.64. The Shanghai SHCOMP Composite Index,
-0.71%
fell 0.1% to 3,558.25. Hang Seng HSI from Hong Kong,
+ 0.03%
increased 0.4% to 28,130.27. In Australia, the S & P / ASX 200 XJO,
+ 0.17%
was stable at 7,336.20.

The yield of the 10-year Treasury bill TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.328%
rose to 1.317% from 1.30% Thursday night.

On Thursday, major US stock indexes closed for the most part, retreating further from record highs they reached earlier in the week.

The S&P 500 SPX,
-0.33%
fell 0.3% to 4,360.03. The benchmark is now poised to experience its first weekly loss in four weeks.

The highly technical Nasdaq COMP,
-0.70%
slipped 0.7% to 14,543.13. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
+ 0.15%
reversed the trend and rebounded after being down much of the day. The blue chip index gained 0.2% to 34,987.02.

The Russell 2000 RUT Index,
-0.55%
small cap stocks lost 0.6% to 2,190.29.
Tech and communications stocks, as well as companies that rely on consumer spending, were behind much of the pullback, outweighing gains elsewhere in the market.

Energy stocks fell on the back of a large drop in energy prices. Among the winners were financials, including banks, which reported mostly strong earnings.
Investors are watching where the economy is heading as the pandemic subsides and what businesses have to say about how rising inflation is affecting their businesses.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivered his second day of testimony to Congress on Thursday. He reiterated that signs of inflation are expected to ease or reverse over time as the United States emerges from an unprecedented economic reopening following the pandemic-induced recession.

The government said on Wednesday that wholesale inflation jumped 1% in June, pushing price gains over the past 12 months to a record 7.3%. This followed a report released a day earlier showing that consumer prices were the biggest 12-month increase in 13 years.

New data on unemployment benefit claims indicate that the labor market continues to improve. The Labor Department said Thursday that jobless claims fell from 26,000 last week to 360,000, the lowest level since the pandemic struck last year.

More and more companies released their latest quarterly results on Thursday. Progressive fell 2.6% after the insurance company’s results fell short of analysts’ forecasts. Morgan Stanley MS,
+ 0.18%
rose 0.2% after reporting a 10% increase in quarterly profits from a year earlier.

American international group AIG,
+ 3.58%,
better known as AIG, rose 3.6% after the insurance company struck a deal with Blackstone Group to help it manage some of its life insurance assets.

Many companies will start publishing their reports next week when earnings season is in full swing.

In other trading on Friday, the US benchmark crude oil CL.1,
+ 0.54%
lost 24 cents to $ 71.41 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $ 1.48 to $ 71.65 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude BRN00,
+ 0.52%,
the international price standard was stable at $ 73.48 per barrel.

The US dollar rose to 109.99 Japanese yen USDJPY,
+ 0.23%
from 109.85 yen. The euro EURUSD,
+ 0.08%
slipped to $ 1.1812 from $ 1.1813.

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