BANGKOK – Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street.
Benchmarks logged moderate gains in Hong Kong and Tokyo, but were flat in Sydney and Shanghai. Australian shares declined.
Markets have meandered since last week as investors weighed solid corporate earnings results against renewed worries that troubles with COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and the spread of new variants of coronavirus might delay a recovery from the pandemic.
Traders are also awaiting the outcome of a Federal Reserve policy meeting which wraps up later in the day.
For now, “ranging is a summation of the state of play in the financial markets at the moment," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.
The reality that President Joe Biden's $1.9 billion stimulus package won't be “rubber stamped" by the U.S. Senate has made investors pull back on risk, he said.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index added 0.3% to 28,638.54, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong also gained 0.3% to 29,485.60. The Kospi in South Korea was flat, at 3,141.58, as was the Shanghai Composite index, at 3,568.40. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.8%.
Overnight, the S&P 500 lost 0.1% to 3,849.62 but was within 0.2% of the record high it set Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1%, to 30,937.04. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite also slid 0.1%, to 13,626.06. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 0.6%, to 2,149.86.