TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street began a post-holiday week on a lackluster note.
Shares rose in Tokyo and Sydney but fell in Hong Kong, Shanghai and South Korea. A weakening in growth in Chinese manufacturing, based on surveys of factory managers, has undermined buying sentiment.
Market players are looking ahead to U.S. jobs data, which are also likely to show growth. They’re also keeping an eye on comments by Federal Reserve officials on inflation, a concern overhanging markets as economies regain momentum with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, especially in the United States.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.4% in morning trading to 28,932.04. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9% to 7,210.90. South Korea's Kospi edged less than 0.1% lower to 3,150.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.6% to 29,284.51, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7% to 3,601.24.
India's Sensex declined 0.4%. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore, but advanced in Jakarta.
Economies are bouncing back rapidly from the damage and disruptions caused by the pandemic, analysts say.
“The speed of recovery bears little resemblance to those from past downturns, which should give some hope that less economic scarring will result,” RaboResearch said in a market commentary.
Progress lags in Japan and much of Asia, where vaccination programs have lagged, though they are beginning to pick up speed even as many countries grapple with severe coronavirus outbreaks.
U.S. markets were closed Monday for Memorial Day and trading was wobbly on Tuesday, with a mixed finish for major stock indexes, as losses in technology and health care companies offset gains elsewhere in the market.
The S&P 500 gave up an early gain, slipping less than 0.1% to 4,202.04. That broke a three-day winning streak. The tech-heavy Nasdaq inched 0.1% lower to 13,736.48, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.1% gain, closing at 34,575.31.
The Russell 2000 index added 1.1%, to 2,294.74.
Traders weighed a new report showing more growth in manufacturing as the coronavirus pandemic wanes in the U.S., but were also looking ahead to the government's monthly jobs report update on Friday.
Expectations that the upcoming Labor Department report will show a strong increase in hiring in May added to worries about inflation and how the Federal Reserve may respond to it. That helped push bond yields broadly higher Tuesday, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.
"The market will focus on jobs this week and the reason is so will the Fed,” Krosby said. “This is a market that wants to assess or ascertain how the Fed is going to respond to more inflation.”
The concern is that the global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks have to withdraw stimulus to combat rising prices.
Banks were among the biggest gainers as bond yields ticked higher, which allows them to charge more lucrative interest rates on loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.61% from 1.58% Friday. Bank of America rose 1.3%.
Energy stocks were the biggest gainers in the S&P 500. Crude oil prices jumped more than 2%, helping to send producers higher. Exxon Mobil rose 3.6%.
“The economy continues to expand, continues to rebound,” Krosby said. “Americans are traveling by car, traveling by air, and that's reflected in the oil prices.”
Health care and technology companies fell, checking gains elsewhere in the market. Abbott Laboratories slumped 9.3% for the biggest loss in the S&P 500. Microsoft slid 0.9%.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that manufacturing picked up again in May. The ISM's manufacturing index came in at 61.2 last month, much better than the 60.6 expected by economists surveyed by FactSet.
Manufacturing grew despite supply shortages that have plagued many manufacturers for weeks, particularly those who require semiconductors. It's the latest piece of economic data that has shown the U.S. economy growing quickly out of the coronavirus pandemic.
AMC Entertainment jumped 22.7% after the movie theater operator announced a stock sale. AMC, whose stock is up more than 1,000% this year, is one of a handful of companies that gained the attention of a group of online retail investors earlier this year, along with companies like GameStop.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 14 cents to $67.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.40 to $67.72 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 17 cents to $70.42 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 109.62 Japanese yen from 109.49 yen. The euro cost $1.2223, up from $1.2214.
AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.
Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press