Asian stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday as traders watched for signs trade might be disrupted by U.S.-Chinese tensions over an American lawmaker's visit to Taiwan.
Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul advanced after Beijing announced a ban on imports of some Taiwanese goods but no immediate major penalties following the arrival of Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the U.S. House of Representatives. The mainland's ruling Communist Party claims Taiwan as part of its territory and rejects foreign official contact with the self-ruled island democracy.
"The real show of force by China is still to come," said Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4% to 3,199.91 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.5% to 27,731.52. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.5% to 19,789.98.
Taiwan's Taiex shed 0.3% to 14,705.52 after Beijing announced a ban on citrus and some fish from Taiwan to show its displeasure at Pelosi's visit. The mainland announced military maneuvers in areas surrounding Taiwan but no indication it might punish industries such as Taiwanese producers of processor chips needed by Chinese factories that assemble the world's smartphones.
The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.7% to 2,456.60 while Sydney's S and P-ASX 200 shed 0.4% to 6,968.70.
New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets rose.
Wall Street's benchmark S and P 500 index lost 0.7% on Tuesday after the Labor Department said American employers posted fewer job openings than expected in June following interest rate hikes to cool surging inflation.
Investors worry aggressive efforts by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to tame inflation that is running at multi-decade highs might derail global economic growth.
The S and P 500 fell to 4,091.19. It is down nearly 1% this week.
The The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.2% to 32,396.17, largely because of a tumble for Caterpillar, a maker of earth moving equipment maker. The company fell 5.8% after it reported weaker revenue for the latest quarter than expected.
The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2% to 12,348.76.
The Labor Department said employers posted 10.7 million jobs in June, down from 11.3 million the previous month but still a relatively high figure.
Job openings, which never exceeded 8 million in a month before last year, had topped 11 million every month from December through May before dipping in June.
Some weak data on the U.S. economy has added to suggestions the peak in inflation has passed but also indicates the risk of a recession is increasing.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude shed 37 cents to $94.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 53 cents the previous day to $94.42. Brent crude lost 45 cents to $100.09 per barrel in London. It rose 51 cents the previous session to $100.54 a barrel.
The dollar declined to 132.89 yen from Tuesday's 133 yen. The euro gained to $1.0179 from $1.0174.
From The Associated Press
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