Asian shares are mixed after Wall Street retreats from all-time highs



Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street slipped a bit further from its record highs, Associated Press (AP) reported. Oil prices fell while US futures edged higher. Chinese shares slipped even as China’s central bank governor told a high-level business conference in Beijing that property industry was showing signs of recovery. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 1.4 percent to 16,392.84 and the Shanghai Composite index was down 1.3 percent at 2,993.14. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.9 percent to 40,762.73 and the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 7,819.60.
In Bangkok, the SET rose 0.3 percent. India’s Sensex was up 0.8 percent and the Taiex in Taiwan closed 0.4 percent higher.
“Traders are keenly awaiting further guidance from Federal Reserve officials and key economic indicators from China, along with ongoing discussions around fiscal policies,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a commentary. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent to 5,203.58, for its third straight modest drop since setting an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1 percent to 39,282.33, and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.4 percent to 16,315.70. Stock indexes were modestly higher for much of the day thanks to several Big Tech stocks. The S&P 500 has already roared 9 percent higher this year and is on track to close out its fifth straight winning month as the economy remains resilient despite high interest rates meant to get inflation under control. Plus, the Federal Reserve looks set to start lowering interest rates this year because inflation has cooled from its peak.
But critics say a broader range of companies will need to deliver strong profit growth to justify their big moves in price. Progress on bringing inflation down has also become bumpier recently, with reports this year coming in hotter than expected.
A US government report showed orders for machinery, computers and other long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February following two months of drops.
But a later report from the Conference Board said confidence among US consumers unexpectedly weakened. Solid spending by US consumers has been one of the linchpins keeping the economy out of a long-predicted recession. US benchmark crude oil shed 77 cents to US$80.85 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 79 cents to US$84.84 per barrel. The US dollar rose to 151.72 Japanese yen from 151.56 yen. The euro slipped to US$1.0825 from US$1.0833.

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