Asian shares were mixed Monday, echoing Wall Street’s uneven close last week.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei added 0.2% to 28,379.48. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.4% to 3,142.46, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose nearly 0.2% to 7,041.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.4% to 28,339.46, while the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.1% to 3,491.58.
Several central bank rate decisions are expected in the region this week, in New Zealand, South Korea and Indonesia.
The Japanese government is preparing to extend a “state of emergency” to curb coronavirus infections in some areas, beyond the initial ending date of May 31, adding to concerns over outbreaks ahead of next month’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The uneven rollout of vaccinations against COVID-19 remains a risk factor for regional markets. Although vaccinations have gradually started in Japan, for medical professionals and the elderly, a separate effort to inoculate people at different sites began Monday. So far, about 5% of the population has gotten at least one shot.
On Wall Street on Friday, the S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower to 4,155.86, losing 0.4% for the week. That followed a 1.4% loss the week before.
The Nasdaq slid 0.5% to 13,470.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fared better, gaining 0.4% to 34,207.84. The Russell 2000 index picked up 0.3% to 2,215.27.
Worries remain that inflation may cause central banks to pull back on efforts to support growth. The U.S. Federal Reserve has said it expects any bump in inflation to be temporary.
Analysts have also said investors are looking further ahead, beyond the recovery, and are wary about potential tax changes and the impact they may have on growth. Also on investors’ minds is Bitcoin, whose pricing has turned choppy lately.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 40 cents to $63.98 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.64 to $63.58 on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 45 cents to $66.89 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar slipped to 108.79 Japanese yen from 108.91 yen late Friday. The euro cost $1.2190, up from $1.2181.