Asian shares mixed in muted trading amid virus worries

Asian shares mixed in muted trading amid virus worries


TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed in muted trading Tuesday on continuing concerns about surging COVID-19 infections in key regional markets like Japan.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 1.2% in afternoon trading to 28,115.93. South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.3% to 3,184.46. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 7,552.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.4% to 25,447.73, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.2% to 3,522.49.

Reported coronavirus cases recently reached record highs in Japan, one of the hardest-hit nations in Asia and where a government state of emergency has been extended through Sept. 12. Japan's vaccine rollout, which got off to a slow start compared to other developed nations, stumbled recently when contaminants were found in the Moderna vaccine supply, forcing the suspension of more than 1.6 million doses.

Global investors have their eyes on several key U.S. economic reports later this week, including consumer confidence on Tuesday and the closely watched monthly employment survey from the Labor Department on Friday.

Both could help investors better gauge the American economic recovery’s path, which will impact Asian economies as well, as it faces resistance from a surge in virus cases because of the more contagious delta variant.

On Wall Street on Monday, gains for several Big Tech stocks helped push the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite to more record highs. The S&P 500 added 19.42, or 0.4%, to close at 4,528.79 The Dow fell 55.96 points, or 0.2%, to 35,399.84 and the Nasdaq composite rose 136.39 points, or 0.9%, to 15,265.89.

Technology stocks, which benefit from low interest rates, did much of the heavy lifting for the broader market. Apple rose 3%, while Amazon and Facebook each rose more than 2%.

Health care companies also had solid...

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