Asian shares were mostly lower Monday after Wall Street ended last week lower as investors continue to watch for what may be in store for U.S. interest rates.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.31% slipped 0.2% in early trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.26% bounced between slight gains and losses. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.02% inched down but was little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.75% lost nearly 0.8% while the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.6% SHCOMP, -0.57% . Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.65% gained 0.5%, while stocks inched down in Singapore STI, -0.57% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.38% .
In Shanghai, the STAR market, a Nasdaq-style board of 25 tech companies, began trading. Shares surged in early trading, thanks to massive oversubscription in IPO shares by retail investors. Trading in the new market is expected to be volatile in the early going. “Initially, there could be trading imbalances between supply and demand, and the market should look at fluctuations in a reasonable way,” Liu Ti, deputy general manager of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, said recently, according to Reuters.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank 9984, +2.12% rose in Tokyo trading, while Nintendo 7974, -2.04% and convenience-store chain FamilyMart 8028, -2.08% declined. In Hong Kong, Sunny Optical 2382, +0.74% gained, while property companies such as China Overseas Land & Investment 688, -2.62% and Wharf Real Estate 1997, -2.30% slid. SK Hynix 000660, +2.47% surged in South Korea while Samsung 005930, +0.64% edged up ahead of its quarterly earnings report. In Australia, Beach Energy BPT, +4.35% and Fortescue Metals FMG, +1.95% rose.
“If I had to quantify the equity market risk, it’s 90% Fed policy, and 10% geopolitical worries as investors remain wholly captivated by the looser the policy, the better the risk opportunities,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets, said in a note Monday.
U.S. stocks pulled further back from their records on Friday to cap the weakest week for the S&P 500 since May as sentiments turned lower after Iran said it seized a British oil tanker, the latest escalation of tensions between Tehran and the West.
The S&P 500 SPX, -0.62% fell 18.50 points, or 0.6%, to 2,976.61. After setting its record high on Monday, the index see-sawed mostly lower and lost 1.2% for the week. It’s just the second down week for the index in the last seven. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.25% fell 68.77, or 0.3%, to 27,154.20, and the Nasdaq composite COMP, -0.74% lost 60.75, or 0.7%, to 8,146.49.
Momentum for U.S. stocks has slowed since early June, when they began soaring on expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates for the first time in a decade to ensure the U.S. economy doesn’t succumb to weaknesses abroad. The Fed’s next meeting is scheduled for the end of this month.
“With the markets wholly captivated by the looser the policy, the better the risk opportunities, investors could remain singularly focused on the Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank policy decision and communications as global equity markets continue to have their ups and down based on the perceived degree of accommodative central bank policy,” said Stephen Innes of Vanguard Markets said in a commentary.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil CLQ19, +0.79% added 37 cents to $56.13 a barrel. Brent crude BRNU19, +1.36% , the international standard, rose 65 cents to $63.12 per barrel.
The dollar USDJPY, +0.20% rose to 107.99 Japanese yen from 107.60 yen Friday.