Asian stocks mixed after Wall St rally on economic optimism

TOKYO (AP) – Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street paused as major indices were down slightly.

Japan’s Nikkei benchmark fell 0.5% to 29,544.93 and the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.7% to 3,459.25. The Australian S & P / ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 6,903.50. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3% to 3,136.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.3% to 28,845.68.

President Joe Biden has said he is pushing back his deadline for states by two weeks, until April 19, to make all adults in the United States eligible for coronavirus vaccines, reflecting continued progress in the United States

Optimism about a global economic rebound after the pandemic is growing, but Venkateswaran Lavanya of the Asia and Oceania Treasury Department of Mizuho Bank noted that some countries are lagging behind in a “divergent recovery.”

“Certainly, the assessment of aggregate growth is optimistic. The contraction in world GDP for 2020, to 3.3%, was not as severe as the 4.4% drop expected earlier, ”Lavanya said, referring to gross domestic product.

The International Monetary Fund has said it expects global economic growth to accelerate this year as vaccine distribution increases and the world rebounds. The 190-country lending agency said it expects the global economy to grow 6% in 2021, down from 5.5% it forecast in January. It would be the fastest expansion of IMF records since 1980.

Trading in shares of Toshiba Corp. was halted after the Tokyo-based tech conglomerate confirmed it had received a preliminary acquisition proposal.

Toshiba Corp. said he was seeking more details on the proposal, giving it “careful consideration” and would make an announcement “in due course”. Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei reported that CVC Capital Partners was planning to acquire the company for 2,000 billion yen ($ 18 billion).

CVC is an international private equity and credit firm that has committed nearly $ 162 billion in funds and manages more than 300 investors. He declined to comment.

Toshiba, founded in 1875, has long been revered as one of Japan’s most respected brands, but in recent years it has been mired in scandals and overwhelmed by its investments in nuclear power. After the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, its costs skyrocketed amid growing security concerns and sour sentiment towards nuclear power in countries like Germany.

On Wall Street, stocks ended slightly lower, pulling the market to all-time highs reached a day earlier. Tech and healthcare stocks were behind much of the decline.

The S&P 500 ended a three-day winning streak, slipping 0.1% to 4,073.94, after swinging between small gains and losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 33,430.24. Both indices hit all-time highs on Monday. The high tech Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 13,698.38.

Small business shares, which topped the broader market this year, also fell. The Russell 2000 Small Business Index fell 0.3% to 2,259.15. The index is up 14.4% so far this year, while the S&P 500, which tracks large companies, is up 8.5%.

Financials fell as bond yields eased. This has countered the broader gains of companies that depend on continued economic growth to recover. Oil prices have gone up.

Recent market swings primarily reflect varying assessments of the health and speed of the recovery from the pandemic.

Vaccine distribution is speeding up reopening of businesses, while government stimulus measures help consolidate them in the meantime.

Even when this shift occurs, the technology and other stocks that have benefited from the closings still look fundamentally sound, said Jeff Buchbinder, equity strategist at LPL Financial.

“We see this battle happening here in the markets every day,” he said. “This will generate unsubscribing. “

Retailers, cruise lines and hotel operators were among the winners on Tuesday. The spread increased by 2.5%, Norwegian Cruise Line by 4.6% and Wynn Resorts by 4%. Alaska Air Group climbed 3.7%, while Delta Air Lines closed up 2.8%.

The U.S. Department of Labor said job vacancies reached their highest level on record in February, a harbinger of healthy hires and a sign of hope for those looking for work. The upbeat report follows encouraging reports last week on job growth and improvements in the service sector, which is one of the areas of the economy hardest hit by the pandemic.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse has said it expects a loss of $ 4.7 billion from a default by a US hedge fund. Two senior executives leave the bank. Credit Suisse has also suspended a share buyback program and reduced its dividend. The bank’s U.S.-listed shares, which already fell sharply last week after the first news of the default broke, rose 0.9% on Tuesday.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude edged up 9 cents to $ 59.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 68 cents to $ 59.33 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 7 cents to $ 62.81 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar was at 109.82 Japanese yen, almost unchanged from 109.81 yen on Tuesday night. The euro was unchanged at $ 1.1870.

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AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.

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