Asian stock mixed on caution sets in after Wall Street cheer

TOKYO – Asian shares were mixed Monday, as cautiousness set in after markets were earlier cheered by upbeat signs from Wall Street, a strengthening U.S. dollar and promises from the Group of 20 nations over the weekend to support global growth.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 inched down 0.04 per cent to finish at 16,620.29. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1 per cent to 2,012.32. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.2 per cent lower to 21,925.57, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed, inching up 0.01 per cent to 3,013.06. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 per cent to 5,533.60.

GLOBAL MEETING: Envoys of the Group of 20 major economies, meeting in China, promised Sunday to protect the world economy from the shockwaves of Britain’s European Union referendum and to boost sluggish growth, while rejecting trade protectionism. That’s helping ease some investor worries.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9.86 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,175.03 on Friday. It surpassed its prior record set Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.62 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 18,570.85. The Nasdaq composite rose 26.26, or 0.5 per cent, to 5,100.16. The gains sent all three indexes to their fourth consecutive winning week, their longest streak since March.

CENTRAL BANKS: The Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve are both holding policy meetings this week. Record-low interest rates and big stimulus programs from central banks have pushed stocks higher since the financial crisis.

THE ECONOMIES: Japan’s economy is barely growing. Economists are speculating about whether its central bank may push more stimulus this week. The U.S. economy is in better shape than other advanced economies, and few expect the Federal Reserve to make a big move at its meeting. But if it highlights the better-than-expected recent economic reports, economists may move up their predictions for when the Fed could next raise interest rates. The Fed pulled rates off their record low in December but has held pat since then.

THE QUOTE: “The Bank of Japan is scheduled for a press conference this Friday, and the market is anticipating the bank will join Prime Minister Abe’s government plan to finalize one of the biggest spending packages in three and a half years,” said Alex Wijaya, senior trader at CMC Markets about a stimulus package being promised by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude fell 14 cents to $44.05 a barrel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, slipped 12 cents to $45.57 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar ticked up to 106.09 Japanese yen from 105.87 yen late last week in Asia. The euro dipped to $1.0968 from $1.1022.


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