Asian markets lower after Wall St declines for third week

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly lower Monday after Wall Street declined for a third week and Britain reported a rise in coronavirus infections.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney retreated. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

On Friday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 1.1%, led by a sell-off of tech companies that led this year's rebound. Investors worry they might have become to expensive.

Market momentum shifted after the Federal Reserve said last week the U.S. economic outlook is uncertain. Growth in some industries has slowed after additional unemployment benefits that supported consumer spending slowed. Congress has yet to agree on a new support package.

“With 43 days to the U.S. election, fingers crossed may be what little one can do when it comes to the fiscal stimulus hopes,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.

Investors also were rattled by a rise in coronavirus cases in Britain. On Sunday, the government reported 4,422 new infections, its biggest daily rise since early May. An official estimate shows new cases and hospital admissions are doubling every week.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% to 3,330.03 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.6% to 24,310.84.

The Kospi in Seoul was up less than 0.1% at 2,413.19, while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 sank 0.7% to 5,823.70.

New Zealand declined, while Singapore and Jakarta advanced.

Global markets have recovered most of this year’s losses, though the bulk of gains went to big tech companies and a handful of stocks, while most issues still are down.

Investors have been encouraged by central bank infusions of credit into struggling economies and hopes for a vaccine to end the coronavirus pandemic that plunged the global economy into its deepest downturn since the 1930s.

Forecasters warn, however, that the rebound might be too early to be supported by uncertain economic activity as infection numbers rise in the United States, Brazil and some other countries.

Some governments have re-imposed anti-disease controls that hamper business.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 declined to 3,319.47 on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.9% to 27,657.42. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.1% to 10,793.28.

Apple Inc. dropped 3.2%, Microsoft Corp. fell 1.2% and Amazon.com Inc. slid 1.8%. Markets also are on edge about U.S.-Chinese tension over trade, technology and security. The White House said Friday it would ban downloads of the popular Chinese-owned Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, citing security concerns.

A federal judge on Saturday agreed to postpone the restrictions on WeChat on the grounds they might interfere with free speech. The same day, President Donald Trump endorsed an agreement for TikTok, a unit of China’s ByteDance Ltd., to form a U.S. company with Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 11 cents to $41.22 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price standard for international oils, advanced 9 cents to $43.24 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 104.37 yen from Friday 104.18 yen. The euro gained to $1.1861 from $1.1843.