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Asian markets muted as traders warily await U.S. stimulus deal

Asia Markets

Nikkei about flat, while stocks fall in Seoul

Visitors holding Korean traditional lanterns look around during a ‘moonlight tour’ at Changdeokgung Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, in Seoul on Thursday.


AFP/Getty Images

Asian markets were little changed in early trading Friday, after stocks fell on Wall Street as the stalemate over a second coronavirus-aid plan continued to fester on Capitol Hill.

Japan’s Nikkei 225
NIK,
+0.17%

was nearly flay, while Hong Hong’s Hang Seng Index
HSI,
-0.18%

slipped 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite
SHCOMP,
+1.18%

fell 0.2% and the Shenzhen Composite
399106,
+1.25%

dipped 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi
180721,
-1.23%

sank 1.4% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan
Y9999,
+0.25%

, Singapore
STI,
-0.58%

, Malaysia
FBMKLCI,
-0.75%

and Indonesia
JAKIDX,
+0.16%

were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
XJO,
+0.57%

advanced 0.7%.

Sony
6758,
+2.02%

gained in Tokyo trading while SoftBank
9984,
-1.51%

sank, while in Hong Kong, Wharf Real Estate
1997,
+1.23%

rose as HSBC
5,
-1.97%

and PetroChina
857,
-0.73%

fell. Samsung
005930,
-1.19%

declined in Seoul trading.

Asian stocks were muted as U.S. lawmakers’ “political grandstanding delay is posing some risk for the global recovery,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, in a note. “Still, there is no chance of this deal not going through … and one thing investors feel confident about is that they like stocks higher, so look for dips to be bought on the expectation of the deal eventually going through.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the two sides remain “miles apart” in the stimulus talks, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially sent senators home for a three-week summer recess, though they may be recalled if there is a breakthrough to vote on.

U.S. stocks finished lower in listless trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.28%

fell 80.12 points, or 0.3%, to close at 27,896.72, while the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.20%

lost 6.92 points, or 0.2%, to close at 3,373.43, after hitting an intraday peak at 3,387.24 to momentarily breach its Feb. 19 closing record at 3,386.15. The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
+0.27%

rose 30.27 points, or 0.3%, higher to close at 11,042.50.

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