By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were little changed in early trading Thursday, despite new record highs on Wall Street.
Investors were largely awaiting word from central banks. The European Central Bank will meet Thursday and is expected to lay groundwork for cutting rates in the fall. The head of the Reserve Bank of Australia will also speak Thursday and may give clues about future policy direction, and the Bank of Japan will meet next week, with experts saying its direction may depend on what the ECB does. The Fed also meets next week, when it is expected to cut interest rates.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.72% rose 0.3%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.99% edged up 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +2.01% inched ahead 0.3% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +1.28% advanced 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.80% slipped 0.7% after North Korea launched two short range missiles into the sea., while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.88% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.62% , Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +1.07% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.14% were a mixed bag. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.42% gained 0.3%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +2.63% gained in Tokyo trading amid a report that it is poised to invest $40 billion in a new tech fund that will be backed by Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.0000% and Goldman Sachs /zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite GS -0.09% . Nintendo also gained, while Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +0.15% fell. In Hong Kong, Apple component-makers Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 +6.23% and AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 +6.62% rose, as did Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 +1.16% . Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +1.32% advanced in South Korea after announcing its much maligned Galaxy Fold smartphone had been improved and will launch in the fall, and chip maker SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 +1.18% rose despite reporting that second-quarter net profit plunged nearly 90%. BHP /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +0.69% and Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -1.45% sank in Australia, while Westpac /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC -0.38% gained.
Wednesday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.45% and Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.52% stock indexes closed at record on Wednesday despite mixed earnings and economic data and antitrust probes into leading U.S. technology stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.36% ended lower after disappointing earnings from Boeing /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA +0.27% and Caterpillar /zigman2/quotes/203434128/composite CAT +1.32% .
Benchmark crude oil added 18 cents to $56.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 89 cents to settle at $55.88 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude oil , the international standard, picked up 12 cents to $63.30 per barrel. Overnight, it fell 65 cents to close at $63.18 a barrel.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0167% was flat at 108.16 Japanese yen.