By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets saw a mixed day on Wednesday, as fresh all-time closing highs for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq vied for investor attention with concerns China will slow its pace of economic stimulus.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +2.55% closed down 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.88% and the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.01% also gave up initial gains, closing down 0.5% and flat, respectively.
China stocks recuperated some earlier losses, “supported by a late rally in tech shares that seem to have offset investor concerns that the PBoC could scale back the scope of further policy easing,” said Dean Popplewell, vice president of market analysis at OANDA, in a note to clients.
Bucking the weaker trend, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +2.93% closed up almost 1%, touching a nearly 10-year high in intraday trading after data showed the Australian Bureau of Statistics said consumer prices were flat for the first quarter of 2019, below the 0.2% market consensus.
The weaker-than-expected reading has traders pricing in the likelihood the central bank will cut interest rates later this year, with the prospect of easy-money policy encouraging some investors to buy stocks.
Among individual stocks, Rakuten /zigman2/quotes/201861450/delayed JP:4755 -1.42% and Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +3.94% gained in Tokyo trading, while Nissan /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 +5.10% retreated. In Hong Kong, real estate companies such as China Resources Land /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 +3.41% and Country Garden /zigman2/quotes/201681083/delayed HK:2007 +3.23% rose, while oil producer CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 +1.38% and telecom China Mobile /zigman2/quotes/200868736/delayed HK:941 +1.20% declined. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +0.82% fell in South Korea. National Australia Bank /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB +5.65% and Westpac Banking /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC +6.33% advanced in Australia.
On Wall Street on Tuesday, The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.23% and Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.17% closed at record highs Tuesday as investors cheered the latest batch of solid corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +2.17% closed less than 1% from a record high. Stock futures rose modestly on Wednesday as a wave of big U.S. companies such as Boeing Co. /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA +5.24% and Caterpillar Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203434128/composite CAT +4.39% post results.
Oil prices closed Tuesday at their highest level since October, but West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery and June Brent crude , the global benchmark slipped in Wednesday futures trading ahead of U.S. supply data.