Asian shares edge lower after mixed finish on Wall Street

Stocks have edged lower in Asia after a mixed finish on Wall Street

BANGKOK — Stocks edged lower in Asia on Tuesday after a mixed finish on Wall Street, as investors weighed the risks of inflation against signs the recovery from the pandemic is gaining momentum.

Benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai and Seoul. Sydney was higher.

In a subdued opening to the week in New York, the S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1%, giving up some recent gains. The benchmark index is within 0.2% of the all-time high it reached a month ago.

Japan reported that its economy contracted 1% in the January-March quarter from the previous quarter, instead of the preliminary estimate of minus 1.3%.

A severe coronavirus outbreak that has caused the government to declare a partial state of emergency and tighten pandemic precautions is likely to keep the economy in the doldrums in the current quarter, Makoto Tsuchiya of Oxford Economics said in a commentary.

“However, we remain optimistic that the pace of recovery will pick up in the second half as domestic demand recovers, supported by increased vaccinations, while foreign demand should continue to support the manufacturing sector,” he said.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.3% to 28,709.29 and the Nikkei in Tokyo edged 0.2% lower to 28,963.56. The Shanghai Composite index declined 0.7% to 3,574.24. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2% to 7,298.00. In Seoul, the Kospi fell 0.2% to 3,247.57.

Investors will get another glimpse into the impact of inflation on Thursday with the U.S. Labor Department’s consumer price report for May. Prices on everything from food to clothes and housing have been rising as the economy recovers.

China reports updated inflation data on Wednesday.

Investors and economists are concerned that a steep rise in prices could crimp the recovery and prompt the Federal Reserve and other central banks to withdraw some of its support for the economy such as keeping interest rates ultra-low and buying bonds.

The S&P 500 fell 3.37 points to 4,226.52. The Dow lost 0.4% to 34,630.24. The Nasdaq rose 0.5% to 13,881.72. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gained 1.4% to 2,319.18.

Banks, industrial stocks and materials companies helped pull the broader market lower. Communications companies and health care stocks made solid gains. Facebook rose 1.9%, while drugmaker Moderna rose 6.6% after it sought regulatory authorization in Europe to let adolescents receive its COVID-19 vaccine.

Biogen soared 38.3% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the Food and Drug Administration said it approved the company’s drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen’s drug is the first Alzheimer’s disease treatment approved by the FDA in nearly 20 years.

Treasury yields mostly rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 1.57%.

U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 44 cents to $68.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 39 cents to $69.62 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, declined 52 cents to $70.97 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 109.46 Japanese yen from 109.25 yen. The euro declined to $1.2178 from $1.2192.

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