Asia Markets: Asian markets little changed as investors await central bank decisions
Asian markets were little changed in early trading Thursday, despite new record highs on Wall Street.
Investors were also awaiting word from central banks. The European Central Bank will meet Thursday and is expected to lay groundwork for cutting rates in the fall. The head of the Reserve Bank of Australia will also speak Thursday and may give clues about future policy direction, and the Bank of Japan will meet next week, with experts saying its direction may depend on what the ECB does. The Fed also meets next week, when it is expected to cut interest rates.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.31% rose 0.3%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.28% edged up 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.29% inched ahead 0.2% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.48% advanced 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.81% slipped 0.8%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -0.15% , Singapore STI, +0.24% , Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.02% and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.20% were a mixed bag. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.45% gained 0.3%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank 9984, +2.45% gained in Tokyo trading amid a report that it is poised to invest $40 billion in a new tech fund that will be backed by Apple AAPL, -0.08% and Goldman Sachs GS, +1.18% . Nintendo 7974, +1.25% also gained, while Sony 6758, -0.92% fell. In Hong Kong, Apple component-makers Sunny Optical 2382, +2.25% and AAC 2018, +1.12% rose, as did Tencent 700, +1.75% . Samsung 005930, +1.40% advanced in South Korea after announcing its much maligned Galaxy Fold smartphone had been improved and will launch in the fall, and chip maker SK Hynix 000660, +1.29% ose despite reporting that second-quarter net profit plunged nearly 90%. BHP BHP, -2.06% and Rio Tinto RIO, -4.12% sank in Australia, while Westpac WBC, +1.55% gained.
Wednesday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.47% and Nasdaq COMP, +0.85% stock indexes closed at record on Wednesday despite mixed earnings and economic data and antitrust probes into leading U.S. technology stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.29% ended lower after disappointing earnings from Boeing BA, -3.12% and Caterpillar CAT, -4.48% .