Asian stock markets mixed on Monday after Wall Street slides

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Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday after Wall Street turned in its biggest weekly decline in more than two months.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Hong Kong retreated while Seoul and Sydney gained. Southeast Asian stock markets were mixed.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.8% on Friday, breaking a streak of gains.

Investors have been encouraged by hopes for a coronavirus vaccine and central bank infusions of cash into struggling economies. But forecasters warn the rise in prices might be outrunning uncertain economic activity as case numbers rise in the United States and some other countries. Some are re-imposing anti-disease controls that disrupt business.

The question now is whether there will be a sustained unwinding in this forthy market, or if conviction about fresh central bank liquidity and fear of missing out kicks in once again, Mizuho Bank said in a report.

One possible sign the decline might be temporary: demand for government bonds and other assets considered safe havens in an extended down market has not come flooding back in,” the bank said.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 3,336.69 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.4% to 23,103.74. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 0.3% at 24,621.46.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.6% to 2,381.82 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.2% to 5,934.60. New Zealand advanced while Singapore and Jakarta declined.

Wall Street’s slide on Friday followed a Labour Department report that showed the US hiring slowed to 1.4 million last month. That was the fewest jobs added since the economy started bouncing back from the initial shock of the pandemic. The United States has recovered about half the 22 million jobs lost to the pandemic.

The S&P 500 fell to 3,426.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6% to 28,133.31. The technology-heavy Nasdaq dropped 1.3% to 11,313.13.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude oil for October delivery fell 52 cents to 39.25 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract lost 1.60 to 39.77 on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, for November delivery declined 49 cents to 42.17 per barrel in London. It shed 1.41 the previous session to 42.66.

The dollar rose to 106.29 Japanese yen from Friday’s 106.21 yen. The euro fell to 1.1835 from 1.1852.

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