Asian markets mixed in scant New Year’s Eve trading

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BANGKOK – Shares in Asia were mixed on Friday after a late slide on Wall Street pulled major indices into the red, driving the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slightly below record highs.

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Tokyo, Seoul and some other regional markets remained closed, while many open markets closed early on the last trading day of the year.

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Hong Kong Hang Seng Index HSI,
+1.24%
The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.2% in New Year’s Eve trading and the SHOMP,
+0.36%
increased by 0.4%. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO,
-0.92%
The increase in the number of new coronavirus cases has led to a decline of 0.8%.

Singapore’s Benchmark Index STI,
+0.11%
Advanced during FBMKLCI of Malaysia,
-0.68%
edge down.

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2021 has been a mixed year for Asian markets. Some benchmarks, such as the Hang Seng, which is facing trouble in China’s asset sector and US-Chinese friction, have eased. Others, such as Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 and the Shanghai Composite Index, have risen but have remained relatively stable.

Meanwhile, India’s Sensex broke new record lows despite severe bouts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the start of the new year, investors will not make any major moves until next week, although year-end window dressing in China has pushed prices higher.

S&P 500 Index SPX on Thursday,
-0.30%
A day after hitting record highs, it slipped 0.3% to close at 4,778.73. Dow DJIA,
-0.25%,
Which also set a new high on Wednesday, falling 0.2% to 36,398.08. Nasdaq Comp,
-0.16%
also slipped 0.2% to 15,741.56.

Major US stock indexes are capping off a banner year for the market with solid gains at the end of December. The S&P 500 is headed for a gain of more than 27% for 2021, its best performance since 2019, another exceptional year.

A wave of consumer demand from the reopening of economies pushed corporate profits higher than expected this year, helping put investors in a buying mood.

The Federal Reserve and other central banks also helped keep interest rates low, making lending money more affordable for companies and consumers.

Several economic challenges remain, including rising inflation, disruptions to global supply chains and outbreaks of more contagious forms of the COVID-19 virus.

Investor concern about the Omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly and becoming the dominant coronavirus variant, in recent weeks has led researchers to say that it produces less severe symptoms.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.51% from 1.54% a day earlier.

US benchmark crude oil CLG22 in other trade,
-0.49%
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, it fell 64 cents to $76.37 a barrel in electronic trading. It rose 43 cents to $76.99 a barrel on Thursday.

brent crude oil BRNG22,
+0.09%,
The base for international oil pricing fell 60 cents to $78.93 a barrel.

US Dollar USDJPY,
+0.03%
The Japanese yen remained almost unchanged at 115.08.

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