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BEIJING – Asian stock markets were mixed on Tuesday after Wall Street advanced on gains in tech stocks and the US Federal Reserve provided support for an economic recovery.
Tokyo and Sydney advanced while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul fell.
Overnight, the Wall Street S&P 500 benchmark rose 0.7% as large tech companies led stocks higher. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have moved forward.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that while the economy is improving, the recovery is “far from complete.” In his testimony to Congress, he said the Fed “will continue to provide the economy with the support it needs for as long as it takes.”
Powell “kept the markets happy” by saying “there is still a long way to go” before tighter monetary policy is warranted, ING’s Robert Carnell said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 3,421.88 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.2% to 29,243.44.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 1% to 28,586.11. Chinese search engine operator Baidu Inc. rose 1% on the first day of trading after the company joined the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and raised $ 3.1 billion in a stock sale.
The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.4% to 3,023.54 while the S & P-ASX 200 in Sydney gained 0.1% to 6,761.10. New Zealand and Singapore have made progress.
Investors vacillate between optimism that coronavirus vaccines that could get business and travel back to normal and fears of higher inflation after struggling economies were inundated with credit and spending public.
They were reassured by Powell’s earlier comment that the Fed’s key interest rate would stay close to zero until 2023 even as inflation is set to pick up.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 3,940.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3% to 32,731.20. The Nasdaq climbed 1.2% to 13,377.54.
Amazon grew 1.2% and Apple 2.8%, while Microsoft rose 2.4%.
Stocks were boosted by rising bond prices, which reduced their yield, or the difference between their market price and payment at maturity. Higher yields pulled investors away from more expensive tech stocks.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bill narrowed to 1.69% after hitting 1.74% last week. The possibility of rising interest rates as yields rise has some investors concerned about slowing economic growth.
Also on Monday, Kansas City Southern jumped 11.1% for the S&P 500’s biggest gain after a Canadian railroad said it would buy the company for $ 25 billion.
Stocks ended last week in the red as higher bond yields caused selling in many parts of the market.
Bank stocks fell. Lower yields potentially mean that banks will only be able to charge lower interest rates to borrowers. The KBW Bank index of the 24 largest banks fell more than 2%.
US-traded shares of UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca rose 4% after UK and US health officials said its COVID-19 vaccine was safe and reports of blood clots were outweighed by the benefits for the health of the vaccine.
In energy markets, benchmark US crude fell 70 cents to $ 60.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 13 cents on Monday to $ 61.55. Brent, the basis of international oil prices, fell 74 cents to $ 63.88 a barrel in London. It rose 9 cents the previous session to $ 64.62 a barrel.
The dollar fell to 108.74 yen from 108.80 yen on Monday. The euro fell to $ 1.1926 from $ 1.1942.
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