TOKYO (AP) — Shares were mostly lower Tuesday in Asia after markets retreated from their record highs overnight and China reported weak manufacturing data.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1 percent to 21,990.80 as the yen gained against the U.S. dollar, hurting exporters’ shares. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 28,283.00 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3 percent to 3,378.80. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.8 percent to 2,522.53 after Samsung reported record profits. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.2 percent to 5,909.00. Shares in Taiwan rose and markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.
CENTRAL BANK WATCH: Investors expect President Donald Trump to announce his choice for the next chair of the Federal Reserve by the week’s end. The choice could have far-ranging effects on the markets, particularly if a new chair advocates a more aggressive policy in raising interest rates than the incumbent Janet Yellen has. The Fed is due to start a two-day meeting on Tuesday. It’s expected to raise rates at its next meeting in December, which would be the third increase of the year.
BANK OF JAPAN: The Bank of Japan wrapped up a policy meeting with no changes to its ultra-lax stimulus program, but slightly raised its forecast for growth in this fiscal year. The central bank cut its outlook for inflation for the full fiscal year, which ends next March, to 0.8 percent from an earlier forecast of 1.1 percent, saying that while the economy is gaining momentum, growth is not yet pushing wages higher or boosting consumer demand enough to fuel inflation.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.4 percent to 23,348.74 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.3 percent to 2,572.83. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.1 percent to 6,698.96, while the small-cap Russell 2000 index lost 1.2 percent to 1,490.90. Losses for health care stocks, telecoms and other areas of the market overshadowed gains for technology companies and energy producers.
EARNINGS: This week will see more than 100 companies in the S&P 500 index report their earnings results for July through September. In Asia, Samsung Electronics Co. reported another record high in quarterly earnings on a breathtaking run for a company that is fighting to get its leader out of jail. The South Korean company’s July-September net income surged 150 percent to 11 trillion won ($9.8 billion), compared with 4.4 trillion won a year earlier.
CHINA MANUFACTURING: An official survey said Chinese manufacturing activity expanded in October at a slower pace than the previous month as output weakened. The purchasing managers’ index released Tuesday fell to 51.6 from 52.4 in September. The index is based on a 100-point index where 50 divides expansion from contraction. The surveys are closely watched leading indicators for China’s economy, the world’s second biggest.
ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “Today’s official PMI readings suggest that economic activity cooled this month, most likely due to disruptions to industrial activity in north-eastern China as a result of the ongoing environmental crackdown, as well as softer investment spending in response to slower credit growth and the unwinding of pre-Party Congress fiscal support. We anticipate further weakness in the months ahead,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 17 cents to $53.98 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 25 cents to settle at $54.15 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 15 cents to $60.44.
CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 113.09 Japanese yen from 113.18 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1634 from $1.1650. The British pound rose to $1.3211 from $1.3208.