Asian markets flat in a quiet holiday business
HONG KONG – Asian stocks were mostly flat Thursday in cautious trade after a mixed close on Wall Street and before the year-end holiday.
Fears of the Omicron coronavirus variant also weighed on markets, with the United States hitting its highest ever average of new Covid cases and the World Health Organization warning of a ‘tsunami’ of infections would push health systems to the brink of collapse.
But investors also clung to data showing reduced risk of hospitalization, as well as the reality that transaction volumes are extremely low between Christmas and New Years.
“Despite global increases in Covid cases, markets are reflecting the new reality that Covid is here to stay although more on our terms than its own,” said Kevin Philip, Managing Director of Bel Air Investment Advisors, in an e- mail.
Next year, “we are facing a world less influenced by Covid and a return to normalcy,” he added.
Tokyo was down slightly at the start of trade, while Hong Kong was up slightly. Shanghai was up about one percent.
Among the stocks that have resisted the trend, Chinese artificial intelligence start-up SenseTime, which jumped more than 10% on its Hong Kong debut, a week after being blacklisted by the United States. United on charges of genocide in Xinjiang.
“Ahead of the New Year and New Year holidays, the number of market participants is low and trading is likely to remain sluggish,” Mizuho Securities said.
“The markets continue to reassess the economic impact of the Omicron variant,” Schwab analysts said in a note.
“With market activity severely reduced for the holiday season, investors continue to tentatively forecast a global recovery hitting a minor bump, not a pothole,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA trading group.
“This is a positive drift in a lightly traded market,” said Patrick O’Hare, analyst at Briefing.com. “There is really no news to drive the market today. “
A day earlier, London’s FTSE 100 eclipsed other markets, rising 0.7% to an almost two-year high as UK traders returned from a long vacation.
But the traditional post-Christmas bullish mood faded in Asia and the Eurozone, with markets ending up lower there.
The situation was also mixed on Wall Street, where the Nasdaq fell even as the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit new records.
Key figures around 03:00 GMT
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.07% to 28,886.09 (pause)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: EN up 0.52% to 23,213.12
Shanghai – Composite: EN up 0.80% to 3,625.67
Euro / dollar: up to $ 1.1347 from $ 1.1302
Pound / dollar: up $ 1.3499 from $ 1.3430
Euro / pound: DROP to 84.06 pence against 84.16 pence
Dollar / yen: UP to 115.01 yen to 114.77 yen
West Texas Intermediate: EN up 0.50% to $ 76.94 per barrel
North Sea crude brent: up 0.52% to $ 79.64 per barrel
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.1% to 4,793.06 (close)
London – FTSE 100: Up 0.7% to 7,420.69 (close)
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