Asian shares little changed, mixed in lackluster trading

Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019 By Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

James Riley
In this July 1, 2019, file photo trader James Riley works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 15. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were little changed and mixed in quiet trading Tuesday amid a lack of fresh market-moving news as investors looked ahead to earnings season.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.7% in early trading to 21,531.05. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed but slightly lower at 6,650.90. South Korea's Kospi was also little changed, inching up less than 0.1% at 2,082.86. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched down less than 0.1% to 28,535.55, while the Shanghai Composite was down nearly 0.1% at 2,939.65.

Wall Street had a wobbly day of trading with gains that were enough to nudge them further into record territory.

The S&P 500 rose 0.53 points, or less than 0.1%, to 3,014.30 after drifting between a gain of 0.1% and a loss of 0.2% earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 27.13, or 0.1%, to 27,359.16, and the Nasdaq composite added 14.04, or 0.2%, to 8,258.19.

U.S. stocks have jumped since early June on increasing expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to help the economy, and investors are virtually certain that it will happen at the next Fed meeting at the end of this month. The only question, investors say, is how deeply the Fed will cut when it lowers rates for the first time in a decade.

Until then, the main drivers for the market will likely be the hundreds of earnings reports scheduled to come from big companies, showing how much profit they made from April through June.

"The lack of impetus for Asia markets have kept prices trading in a lackluster fashion this morning," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist for IG in Singapore.

Several economic reports are also on the schedule this week, including updates on retail sales, the housing industry and shoppers' confidence. The U.S. economy has generally remained solid, but investors don't expect this week's reports to alter the direction of the Fed, which has already given hints about rate cuts given weakening economic trends around the world.

The White House's repeated threats to raise tariffs has made companies at home more hesitant and hurt trade internationally. They're a big reason China on Monday reported its weakest quarter of economic growth in at least 26 years.

ENERGY:

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 15 cents to $59.43 a barrel. It fell 63 cents to settle at $59.58 per barrel Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 15 cents to $66.33 a barrel.

CURRENCIES:

The dollar inched up to 107.94 Japanese yen from 107.81 late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1259 from $1.1271.

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AP Business Writers Stan Choe and Damian J. Troise in New York contributed to this report.

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