Asian stocks mixed, echoing Wall St sentiments on pandemic

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A woman wearing a protective mask rides a bicycle in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, May 6, 2021, in Tokyo. Asian shares were mixed Thursday on cautious optimism about upcoming company earnings reports showing some recovery from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

BEIJING – Asian shares were mixed Thursday on cautious optimism about upcoming company earnings reports showing some recovery from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.0% in morning trading to 29,391.19, in the first session after the Golden Week series of national holidays. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.7% to 3,168.56, but Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.5% to 7,057.80. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up nearly 0.1% to 28,436.53, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.4% to 3,433.39.

Although the vaccine rollout is progressing slowly in Asia, compared to the U.S. and Europe, the global recovery is adding to optimism about exports and earnings of companies doing business overseas.

Japanese shares got a boost from remarks by policymakers at the Bank of Japan expressing resolve to prop up the economy with easy lending and stimulus measures. In the minutes for their meeting in March, they said the negative impact from COVID-19 on global economies was likely decreasing

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mixed after an early technology company rebound faded, tempering the market’s recovery from a sell-off a day earlier.

The S&P 500 eked out a 0.1% gain to 4,167.59 after climbing 0.7% in the early going. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% to 34,230.34, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 0.4% to 13,582.42.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks lost 0.3%, to 2,241.37.

Financial and energy stocks helped keep the S&P 500 out of the red. JPMorgan Chase rose 1.3% and Exxon Mobil added 3%.