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Thursday, August 5, 2021
Stocks & Shares

Asian bourses mixed, US markets closed for Independence Day

Shanghai-Composite-index

Nikkei 225 shed 0.6% to 28,618.33, Hang Seng dropped 0.5% to 28,166.25, Shanghai Composite index added 0.2% to 3,524.30, Kospi rose 0.4% to 3,294.08, S&P/ASX added 0.1% to 7,316.30

Shares in Asia were mixed on Monday, with U.S. markets set to be closed for Independence Day.

Tokyo and Hong Kong dropped while most other regional markets advanced. U.S. futures inched down after Wall Street stock indexes reached more record highs last week following better-than-expected jobs data for June.

Oil prices dropped as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pushed back against a plan by OPEC and allied oil producing countries to extend the global pact to cut oil production beyond April 2022.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped 11 cents to $75.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 7 cents on Friday to $75.16 per barrel. Bench crude shed 8 cents to $76.09 per barrel.

One of the group’s largest oil producers, the UAE is seeking to increase its output — setting up a contest with OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia, which has led a push to keep a tight lid on production.

The combined OPEC Plus grouping of members led by Saudi Arabia and non-members, chief among them Russia, failed to reach an agreement Friday on oil output. Negotiations over the dispute are set to resume Monday.

In Asia, concerns remain about rising Covid-19 cases as outbreaks of new infections overtake vaccination efforts.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.6% to 28,618.33 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 0.5% to 28,166.25. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.2% to 3,524.30 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4% to 3,294.08. In Australia, the S&P/ASX added 0.1% to 7,316.30.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.8%, its seventh straight gain and seventh consecutive all-time high. The benchmark index also notched its second weekly gain in a row. The Nasdaq also set a record, as technology stocks led the broad market rally. The only laggards were energy stocks and banks, which dropped as Treasury yields declined.

A U.S. government report said employers hired 850,000 more workers than they cut last month, a healthier reading than the 700,000 economists expected and an acceleration following a couple months of disappointing growth.

Still, unemployment remains well above the 3.5% rate that prevailed before the pandemic struck, and the economy remains 6.8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level. And while wages grew in June, the increase was less than expected, a good sign for investors worried about inflation pressures.

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