TOKYO – Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street rebounded and Japanese exports surged as investors tried to figure out how rising coronavirus infections will affect the global economy.
Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney advanced. Hong Kong and Seoul declined.
Overnight, Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index gained 1.5%, recovering much of the previous day's loss.
“Defensive flows eased. However, gains are likely to be capped by lingering concerns over COVID-19′s Delta variant,” said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades in a report. “A new wave of infections could delay the reopening of global economies.”
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.6% to 27,544.86 after Japan’s government reported June exports jumped 48.5% over a year earlier, beating forecasts.
The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.4% to 3,218.94 after South Korea reported a daily high of 1,784 new coronavirus cases, adding to a global surge blamed on the virus’s more contagious delta variant.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6% to 3,558.11 while the Hang Seng in Hong sank 0.4% to 27,159.11.
Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 1.1% to 7,335.40 after the Australian government reported retail sales rose 1.3% over a year ago in the three months ending in June.
New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta gained while Bangkok declined. Indian markets were closed for a holiday.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,323.06, recovering most of its 1.6% decline on Monday, its biggest in two months.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.6% to 34,511.99. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.6% to 14,498.88.
The U.S. market has gained ground in choppy trading despite uncertain about the lingering impact of the virus on business activity and inflation.
The Centers for Disease Control has said an estimated 83% of U.S. cases in the U.S. are tied to the virus's delta variant.
Investors have been encouraged by quarterly results from U.S. companies showing many are increasing profits.
IBM Corp. and hospital operator HCA Healthcare both advanced after reporting higher revenue and profit than expected.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. oil lost 45 cents to $66.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, shed 46 cents to $68.89 per barrel in London.
The dollar gained to 109.88 yen from Tuesday's 109.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.1774 from $1.1783.