By Associated Press
TOKYO — Asian shares were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street took a breather, with major indexes edging lower.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK) rose 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite index (SHG:CN:SHCOMP) sank 0.5%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) gained 0.4% while South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721) added 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HONG:HK:HSI) slipped 0.7%. Stocks were flat in Singapore (SES:SG:STI) , and rose slightly in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999) and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX) .
President Joe Biden said he is bumping up his deadline for states by two weeks, to April 19, to make all adults in the U.S. eligible for coronavirus vaccines, reflecting steady progress in the U.S.
Optimism about a global economic rebound from the pandemic is growing, but Venkateswaran Lavanya at Mizuho Bank’s Asia & Oceania Treasury Department noted some nations were lagging in a “divergent recovery.”
“To be sure, the aggregated growth assessment is upbeat. Global GDP contraction for 2020, at 3.3%, was not as bad as the 4.4% drop expected earlier,” Lavanya said, referring to gross domestic product.
The International Monetary Fund said it expects global economic growth to accelerate this year as vaccine distribution ramps up and the world rebounds. The 190-country lending agency said it expects the world economy to expand 6% in 2021, up from the 5.5% it had forecast in January. That would be the fastest expansion in IMF records dating back to 1980.
Trading in Toshiba Corp.’s shares (TKS:JP:6502) was halted after the Tokyo-based technology conglomerate confirmed it had received a preliminary acquisition proposal .
Toshiba said it was seeking more details on the proposal, giving it “careful consideration” and would make an announcement “in due course.” The Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei reported that CVC Capital Partners was looking into acquiring the company for 2 trillion yen ($18 billion).
On Wall Street, stocks finished slightly lower, pulling the market back from all-time highs reached a day earlier. Technology and health care stocks accounted for much of the decline.
The S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) snapped a three-day winning streak, slipping 0.1% to 4,073.94, after wavering between small gains and losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA) fell 0.3% to 33,430.24. Both indexes set all-time highs Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite (NASDAQ:COMP) slipped 0.1% to 13,698.38.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude edged up 9 cents to $59.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 68 cents to $59.33 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude , the international standard, rose 7 cents to $62.81 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar (XTUP:USDJPY) was at 109.82 Japanese yen, nearly unchanged from 109.81 yen late Tuesday.