Asian stocks follow Wall Street up as virus curbs tightened

Aug 8, 2021, 8:44 PM | Updated: Aug 9, 2021, 12:02 am

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Monday after China and Australia tightened anti-virus controls that threaten to weigh on an economic recovery.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, South Korea and Sydney advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

On Friday, Wall Street ended at a new high after a government report showed the U.S. job market improving.

Investors have been encouraged by higher U.S. corporate profits and the global spread of coronavirus vaccinations. But the delta variant’s spread has prompted some governments to reimpose controls on business and travel.

China has reimposed travel controls as it tries to stop a rash of outbreaks. Australia’s two most populous states have told the public to stay home except to go to work or for a handful of other reasons.

“The right question for everyone to be asking, including financial market participants, is when lockdowns will come to other economies,” said Carl B. Weinberg of High Frequency Economics in a report. “This is central bankers’ worst nightmare coming true.”

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% to 3,475.78 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.8% to 26,406.36.

The Kospi in Seoul was up less than 0.1% at 3,273.47 and the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney gained 0.2% to 7,557.20.

New Zealand and Jakarta, Indonesia, gained while Bangkok declined.

China has cut off most access to a city of 1.5 million people, canceled airline flights and told the public to avoid travel if possible after a spate of cases tied to travelers from overseas who were infected with the delta variant.

Australia’s central bank governor, Philip Lowe, warned Friday the economy is likely to shrink in the quarter ending in September after New South Wales, where populous Sydney is located, and Victoria, with Melbourne and major companies, declared health emergencies.

On Friday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.2% to 4,436.52. The index ended up 0.9% for the week.

The Labor Department reported employees added 943,000 workers in July, well above forecasts, and wages rose.

Economists said the report will give the Federal Reserve another reason to reduce bond purchases that inject money into the financial system.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4% to 35,208.51. The Nasdaq fell 0.4% to 14,835.76.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude tumbled $1.49 per barrel to $66.79 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 81 cents on Friday to $68.28. Brent crude, the price standard for international oils, lost $1.50 to $69.20 per barrel in London. It fell 59 cents the previous session to $70.62.

The dollar edged down to 110.21 yen from Friday’s 110.23. The euro gained to $1.1762 from $1.1758.

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Asian stocks follow Wall Street up as virus curbs tightened