by Elaine Kurtenbach
Asian stocks were mostly up on Thursday after a mixed trading session on Wall Street.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4% after disappointing factory and retail sales figures were released. Shares also fell in Hong Kong but other regional benchmarks advanced.
Japanese investors chose former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to lead the ruling Liberal Democrats and thus become the next prime minister.
Shares of China Evergrande Group fell as reports said the company, which is struggling to reduce its debt, was likely to miss another payment on a bond.
Shares of Evergrande jumped on Wednesday after it announced it was selling a stake in Shengjing Bank to help it pay off 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) of its debt to the northeastern China-based lender.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.9% to 24,452.61, while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 104.92 points to 29,439.37.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% to 3,550.24 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.5% to 7,302.50. In Seoul, the Kospi edged up 0.1% at 3,063.19.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which is used to set interest rates on many types of loans, fell to 1.51% from 1.53% early Thursday.
The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,359.46 on Wednesday, with most gaining 0.8%. The benchmark index gained marginally a day after recording its worst fall since May. The index is on the cusp of its first monthly loss since January.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average also lost momentum, but gained 0.3% to 34,390.72, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 0.2% to 14,512.44.
The Russell 2000 Index of Small Companies also fell 0.2% to 2,225.31.
Bond yields stabilized over the past week after a buoyancy and markets, especially technology stocks, weighed on. The high returns have forced investors to reevaluate whether prices are too high for the shares, as it makes them look expensive by comparison.
The broader market has lost ground in September, leaving the S&P 500 down 3.6% for the month with one day left.
Investors have spent much of the month reviewing a mixed batch of economic data showing the impact of COVID-19 and the highly contagious delta variant on consumer spending and recovery in the job market.
Investors are still watching the Federal Reserve closely to see how a slowdown in economic growth will affect the pace of its plan, eventually trimming bond purchases to help keep interest rates low.
Wall Street is also eyeing Washington, where Democrats and Republicans in Congress are wrestling to raise the country’s debt ceiling. If the limit, which is the limit on the amount of money the federal government can borrow, is not raised by October 18, the country will face “a financial crisis and an economic downturn,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress on Wednesday. Told.
Yellen’s remarks came a day after Senate Republicans stopped considering a bill that would have raised the debt limit.
The next few weeks will bring a fresh round of corporate earnings that will give investors a detailed look at how supply chain problems and high costs are affecting corporate finances.
A wide range of companies have been warning investors about the impact of inflation on costs and profits. Nike, Costco and FedEx are among those that cited material costs, shipping delays and labor problems as concerns.
In other trade, US benchmark crude oil fell 11 cents to $74.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday. It rose 46 cents to $74.89 a barrel on Wednesday.
Brent crude oil fell 29 cents to $77.80 a barrel.
The US dollar fell from 111.96 yen to 111.84 Japanese yen. The euro rose from $1.1599 to $1.1607.
AP Business Writers Alex Veiga and Damien J Trois contributed.