By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
TOKYO (AP) – Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday, as optimism sparked by a Wall Street rally was dampened by concerns about the potential impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped nearly 1.0% to 28,960.31 in morning trading. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.1% to 3,002.72. The Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 0.1% to 23,201.42, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2% to 3,610.32. The business was closed in Australia for Boxing Day.
Much of Asia has yet to see an increase in omicron variant infections already occurring in other parts of the world, but experts warn the region is unlikely to be spared.
Japan has yet to see such a wave of new cases. Many areas are teeming with year-end shoppers, and many events are held with spectators, although most people wear masks.
New daily cases in Japan have totaled around 200 as of late. So far, there have been relatively few COVID-related deaths, with some past days having none. Still, analysts have warned that uncertainties lie ahead.
“The record rallies are a little too optimistic,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank, pointing to a large number of omicron cases in Europe and the United States.
Tech companies led US stocks higher on Monday, extending the recent market rally and pushing the S&P 500 to yet another all-time high.
Wall Street kicked off the last week of a record year for the stock market with mostly muted trading as investors returned from the Christmas holidays and several foreign markets remained closed.
The S&P 500 rose 1.4% to 4,791.19, its fourth consecutive gain. The benchmark index, which capped a week shortened by the holidays with a record Thursday, is on the way to end the year with a gain of 27.6%. It has reached 69 all-time highs so far this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1% to 36,302.38 and the tech-savvy Nasdaq rose 1.4% to 15,871.26.
Major indices posted weekly gains last week as fears faded over the potential impact of the omicron COVID-19 variant. However, much is still unclear about omicron, which is spreading rapidly and causing a return to pandemic restrictions in some locations.
Small business shares also rose. The Russell 2000 Index gained 0.9% to 2,261.46.
Trading is expected to be calm but potentially volatile this week, as the omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread rapidly in the United States and abroad. However, most of the major investors have closed their positions for 2021 and are expected to hold on until next week.
Airlines shares closed lower following the announcement of the pandemic-related cancellations. Delta Air Lines fell 0.8% and United Airlines slipped 0.6%.
Shares of cruise lines also fell. Norwegian Cruise Line slipped 2.6% for one of the S&P 500’s biggest drops. Carnival fell 1.2% and Royal Caribbean fell 1.3%.
Authorities in many countries have doubled their vaccination efforts as omicron outbreaks complicate efforts to avoid further closures while hospitals remain under pressure from delta-variant infections.
In energy trading, benchmark US crude rose 27 cents to $ 75.84 from $ 75.57 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. He earned $ 1.78 Monday to $ 75.57.
Brent crude, the international standard, rose 27 cents to $ 78.87 a barrel.
In currency trading, the US dollar slipped to $ 114.86 from $ 114.87. The euro cost $ 1.1325, compared to $ 1.1327.
AP business writer Alex Veiga contributed.
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