SINGAPORE — Asian stocks mostly fell Friday ahead of more regional economic releases that could hint at how the delta variant is affecting growth.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.1% to close at 27,977.15. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.2% to 3,168.82 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.8% to 26,315.47.
The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.2% to 3,518.87 in afternoon trading. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.5% to 7,628.90, however. New Zealands benchmark jumped, while those in Singapore and Indonesia fell.
Japan and Thailand will report their economic growth for the second quarter next week. While traders won’t pay much attention to this backdated GDP data, they will watch how the delta variant is hitting the wider growth trajectory, ING analysts said in a report.
China will also release its industrial output and retail sales figures for July. This comes after the country’s services sector was shown to have rebounded ahead of a fresh COVID-19 wave.
Industrial production will be watched after the July trade data release, which was regarded to be resilient but missed the consensus, Lewis Cooper of IHS Markit said.
Over on Wall Street on Thursday, gains by technology and health care companies outweighed a pullback elsewhere in the market.
Traders worked through a mixed picture of economic data. The Labor Department said that jobless claims fell to 375,000 from 387,000 the previous week, another sign that the job market is healing from the pandemic.
At the same time, inflation at the wholesale level jumped a higher-than-expected 1% in July, matching the rise from the previous month,
The S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 4,460.83, in its third straight all-time high. Several big technology stocks, including Apple, rose and countered weakness in chipmakers, industrial firms and energy companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added less than 0.1% to 35,499.85. The blue-chip index also set its third record high in three days. The tech-heavy Nasdaq edged up 0.3% to 14,816.26.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 66 cents to $68.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price standard for international oils, gave up 59 cents to $70.72 per barrel in London.
The dollar retreated to 110.35 yen from Thursday’s 110.42 yen. The euro rose to $1.1740 from $1.1738.
AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.