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Asian stocks mixed as traders await guidance

Shanghai Composite index

The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.1%, S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2%, shares dropped in Singapore but gained in Malaysia and Indonesia

Stocks in Asia were mixed Thursday as traders awaited more guidance on the U.S. economic recovery.

The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.1% and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2%. Shares dropped in Singapore but gained in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Concerns have been mounting around the spread of the delta variant of coronavirus in the U.S., Europe and Asia. In china, the situation is particularly of concern which is on high alert as it confronts hundreds of fresh cases.

China has sealed off residential communities, suspended flights and trains, and ordered mass Covid testing in Wuhan, the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

In the U.S., employment was in focus. On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP revealed that the U.S. private sector added 330,000 jobs in July, which fell short of analysts’ expectations.

The U.S. Labor Department will release a more comprehensive jobs report on Friday. Economists are projecting that U.S. employers added 700,000 jobs in July, bringing the national unemployment rate down to 5.7% from 5.9%, according to FactSet.

The ADP report “missed expectations by a wide margin,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said.

Although there has been no clear correlation between the ADP data and the non-farm payrolls, the slowdown in hiring in the leisure and hospitality sectors seems to draw some concerns on the rise in virus cases in July bringing about some impact, he said.

The disappointing jobs data weighed on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 index dropped 0.5% to 4,402.66 on Wednesday, retreating from an all-time high it set a day earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 0.9% to 34,792.67. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.1% to 14,780.53, however. Both the Dow and Nasdaq hit all-time highs last week.

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