By Associated Press
Asian stock markets retreated Thursday as investors looked ahead to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman for signs of more support to an economic recovery.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.29% slipped 0.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.41% fell 0.8%. The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.46% erased early losses, gaining 0.3%, while the Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.68% rose 0.8%. The Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.62% in Seoul shed 0.4% while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.11% advanced 0.6%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.63% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.66% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.31% slipped. New Zealand stocks /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR +0.10% were higher but trading was halted for a third straight day by a denial-of-service cyberattack on its servers.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index hit another high, closing up 1% on strong gains for tech stocks, though most of the other companies in the index declined.
Investors are watching Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s speech as part of the U.S. central bank’s annual Jackson Hole symposium. Officials in the past have used the meeting, being held online this year, to make market-moving announcements.
This year, forecasters expect Powell to talk about inflation and the importance of Congress delivering more economic aid after its last round of stimulus expired. Partisan disagreements have prevented an agreement.
While the Fed keeps interest rates near zero, Powell has said previously Congress needs to take action.
Investors, “they may be a little disappointed,” Craig Erlam of Oanda said in a report.
“Barring fine tweaks, I don’t think central banks are going to have much to offer for the foreseeable future,” Erlam wrote.
Markets have recovered most of this year’s losses, driven by gains for big technology companies investors expect to do well despite the coronavirus pandemic. Forecasters warn, however, that the rebound might be too big and too early to be sustained.
The latest data show U.S. economic activity has slowed following its initial rebound from the pandemic.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.30% rose to 3,48.73. Tech stocks in the index accounted for more than 57% of its gain.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.80% rose 0.3% to 28,331.92. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.64% , which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 1.7% to 11,665.06, its third-straight record high.
The Fed has been a primary reason for the stock market’s return to a record.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil for October delivery lost 7 cents to $43.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 4 cents on Wednesday to $43.39. Brent crude , which is used to price international oils, added 1 cent to $46.17 per barrel in London. It fell 22 cents the pervious session to $45.64.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.2002% held steady at 106.00 yen.