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Asian Markets Slump Amid Virus Concerns After Wall Street Slides


BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower on Tuesday, as nervousness over the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus dampened enthusiasm over strong corporate earnings.

Investors have been eagerly awaiting US employment data due this week for signs of the health of the world’s largest economy.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney fell.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 closed lower, weighed down by declines in technology, energy, industrials and communications stocks.

Investors have been encouraged by surprisingly high profits in the United States, but are more concerned as China, the United States and other governments try to stop the spread of the more contagious delta variant.

“It is clear that the risks of the delta variant of COVID have not been eliminated,” Mizuho Bank said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4% to 3,452.05 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.5% to 27,646.85. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.4% to 26,127.02.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.2% to 3,229.76 and Sydney’s S & P-ASX 200 was down 0.4% to 7,465.10.

India’s Sensex index opened 0.6% lower at 53,294.60. New Zealand and Singapore fell while Bangkok and Indonesia gained.

Investors have been eagerly awaiting US employment data due to be released on Friday to see if hiring has held up.

U.S. markets appeared to ignore a report on Thursday from the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, that said manufacturing slowed in July. Many businesses are held back by supply chain disruptions.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to 4,387.16. The index is posting a weekly loss but is less than 0.8% of its record a week ago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 34,838.16. The Nasdaq composite added 0.1% to 14,681.07.

A fall in technology, industrial, raw materials and communications companies weighed on the market. Energy stocks also fell alongside crude oil prices. Gains in healthcare stocks, utilities, and various retailers and other businesses that rely on direct consumer spending helped contain the losses.

Also this week, some 150 S&P 500 companies are due to release their results.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude fell 12 cents to $ 71.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract fell from $ 2.69 to $ 71.26. Brent crude, the basis of international oil prices, fell 15 cents to $ 72.74 a barrel in London. It fell from $ 2.52 the previous session to $ 72.89 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 109.22 yen from 109.25 yen on Monday. The euro gained $ 1.1876 against $ 1.1874.

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