Shares fell in Asia on Tuesday after a choppy session on Wall Street yielded mixed results as the market struggled to find direction.
Hong Kong led other regional markets lower, dropping 1.9 per cent to 29,587.91. Markets in Australia and India were closed for holidays.
Traders are keeping a wary eye on rising coronavirus infections in various countries and a bumpy rollout of vaccinations in the U.S. Markets also are awaiting a meeting of the Federal Reserve which ends Wednesday.
Investors are still jittery over the still-raging pandemic, delayed COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in some places and Washington’s ability to deliver stimulus to blunt the resulting economic pain.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index declined 0.6 per cent to 28,641.13, while the Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.3 per cent to 3,575.89. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.5 per cent to 3,160.93.
Stocks swerved to a mixed finish on Wall Street on Monday, ahead of a deluge of corporate earnings reports scheduled to arrive this week.
The S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to 3,855.36 as gains for influential Big Tech stocks offset losses for most companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1 per cent to 30,960.00. The Nasdaq composite, which is packed with tech stocks, rose 0.7 per cent to 13,635.99 and another record.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks fell 0.3 per cent, to 2,163.27. The yield on the 10-year Treasury sank to 1.03 per cent from 1.07 per cent late Friday.
Besides Apple, more than 100 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to tell investors this week how they fared during the last three months of 2020. They include American Express, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, AT&T and Tesla.
As a whole, analysts expect S&P 500 companies to say their fourth-quarter profit fell 5 per cent from a year earlier. That’s a milder drop than the 9.4 per cent they were forecasting earlier this month, according to FactSet.
President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9-trillion plan to send $1,400 to most Americans and deliver other support for the economy. But his party holds only the slimmest possible majority in the Senate, raising doubts about how much can be approved. Several Republicans have already voiced opposition to parts of the plan.
The coronavirus pandemic is also worsening and doing more damage by the day. A UN agency said Monday that four times as many jobs were lost last year as in 2009, during the global financial crisis.
The Federal Reserve will begin a two-day meeting on interest-rate policy Tuesday, and the wide expectation is for it to keep the accelerator floored on its stimulus for the economy and markets. It has said it plans to keep interest rates low even if inflation rises above its 2% target.
In other Tuesday trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 27 cents to $52.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel on Monday.
Brent crude, the international standard, shed 37 cents to $55.31 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar slipped to 103.69 Japanese yen from 103.76 yen late Monday. The euro rose to $1.2146 from $1.2141.
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