Asian shares mixed as investors mull US data

Asian shares mixed as investors mull US data


Asian shares were mixed on Friday after a hodge-podge of economic data led Wall Street to close mostly lower.

Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul but fell in Shanghai and Sydney.

Across the region, concerns over prolonged outbreak of coronavirus have weighed on sentiment.

“Overall, the mood remains a little downbeat in the markets, with investors torn between the ‘buy the dip' approach that has fared so well in the past and the growing list of economic and market risks that are increasingly evident," Craig Erlam of Oanda said in a commentary.

In Japan, stocks have been trading near three-decade highs in anticipation of a change in leadership after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pulled out of the running for head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Suga's support ratings had languished amid wide public dissatisfaction with his administration's response to the pandemic.

LDP lawmakers and grassroots members will vote on Sept. 29, with a parliamentary election due next month.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index added 0.6% to 30,500.05. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rebounded from losses earlier in the week to gain 0.2%, at 24,723.57. The Kospi in Seoul edged 0.1% higher to 3,132.76.

The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3% to 3,595.24, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney declined 0.8% to 7,399.90.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each lost about 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to eke out a gain of 0.1%.

The market edged higher in the early going after a surprisingly good retail sales report for August, but then fell back.

Markets have been choppy as investors shift money between various sectors while parsing data for clues about where the economy is headed and how the Federal Reserve will react.

The central bank will meet next...

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