Asian markets mixed as China restricts travel amid COVID spike

BEIJING — Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after Wall Street slipped and China tightened travel controls in some areas in response to coronavirus infections.

Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced while Tokyo declined.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 index declined 0.1% on Friday, weighed down by losses for tech companies after a seven-day streak of gains.

In China, Gansu province in the northwest closed tourist sites Monday after coronavirus cases were found and the capital, Beijing, banned visitors from areas with infections in the past 14 days. China has reported only a few dozen cases, but Beijing’s response of curbing travel prompted concern that they might weigh on economic activity that already is weakening.

“One may expect aggressive measures to control virus spreads, which may put a cap on growth,” said Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index
rose 0.4% while the Nikkei 225
in Tokyo lost 0.7%. The Hang Seng
in Hong Kong added 0.1%.

The Kospi
in Seoul advanced 0.4% and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200
gained 0.5%. Stocks teetered between slight losses and gains in Singapore
and Indonesia

On Wall Street, the S&P 500
ended at 4,544.90 on Friday after losses for big tech companies after a day of choppy trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
gained 0.2% to 35,677.02, exceeding its Aug. 15 high. The Nasdaq composite
slid 0.8% to 15,090.20.

The three major indexes post their third weekly gain after investors were encouraged by mostly solid corporate results.

Also Friday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said industrial supply chain problems have gotten worse and will likely keep inflation elevated well into next year.

Investors are looking for clues as to how companies are navigating supply chain problems and rising costs for materials, transportation and other goods and services. Many companies have warned higher costs will hurt operations.

Powell also said the Fed isn’t prepared to lift its benchmark interest rate from near zero. But he suggested the economy might be ready fo ra rate hike next year.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude
rose 95 cents to $84.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.26 to $83.76 on Friday. Brent crude
used as the price basis for international oils, lost 4 cents to $85.49 per barrel in London. It rose 92 cents the previous session to $85.53.

The dollar
gained to 113.75 yen from Friday’s 113.44 yen.