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Asian shares mixed after another Wall Street tech sell-off

Friday, September 11, 2020 | Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer


Currency traders watch computer monitors near the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Asian shares were mixed Friday following a selloff of technology shares on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed Friday following a selloff of technology shares on Wall Street.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 recouped early losses to rise 0.6% to 23,383.87. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.1% to 2,394.09, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.8% to 5,859.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7% to 24,471.29, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.6% to 3,255.28.

Shares were lower in Taiwan but mixed in Southeast Asia.

Analysts say investors are preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic and hopes for development of a safe, effective vaccine.

While Big Tech is benefiting from the shift to online life that the pandemic and ensuing stay-at-home economy has accelerated, critics said their stocks prices have surged too high.

“Big tech stocks might have seemed like safe havens, but they have found themselves at the center of a brutal sell-off,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp.

The catch is that progress in curbing COVID-19 could hurt technology shares, Innes said.

“But keep your eye on the prize. A virus vaccine is a key to the second leg of growth recovery, which will be globally-coordinated and could run for a while as doses are distributed gradually,” he said.

The latest gyrations on Wall Street followed a wild stretch where the S&P 500 careened from its worst three-day slump since June to its best day in nearly three months.

The selling came as the odds lengthen that Congress will deliver more aid to the economy before November’s elections, support that many investors say is crucial after federal unemployment benefits and other stimulus expired. Partisan disagreements on Capitol Hill have kept Congress at a seeming impasse.

Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING, said risk aversion was dominating Asian trading with the technology sector weighing on overall sentiment.

“Investors are struggling to find a catalyst to reverse the recent downtrend with the much-anticipated U.S. fiscal stimulus bill still in limbo,” he said.

Tech stocks accounted for the biggest share of the broad selloff on Wall Street. The sector has been at the center of the market’s swings, hurt by criticism that their recession-defying surge in recent months was overdone.

The S&P 500 fell 1.8% to 3,339.19, its fourth decline in five days. The index is on pace for its second straight weekly loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.5%, to 27,534.58. The Nasdaq gave up 2% to 10,919.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks lost 1.2%, to 1,507.75.

Thursday’s selling followed a batch of new economic data on jobs and wholesale prices. The government said 884,000 workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. The number was flat from last week’s number, which was revised higher, and it’s the lowest it’s been since the number of layoffs began exploding in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A separate report showed inflation remains very weak at the wholesale level, suggesting demand remains slack, though it was stronger last month than economists had forecast.

The market’s focus remains on big technology stocks that are so big their movements alone can move broad market indexes. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google’s parent company alone account for 23% of the S&P 500, for example.

Many analysts say the recent tumult for technology stocks isn’t that surprising given how high they had soared. Apple more than doubled in less than five months through the pandemic, Tesla surged 74.1% last month alone and Zoom Video Communications earlier this month was up nearly 573% for 2020.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 14 cents to $37.16 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international standard, fell 16 cents to $39.90 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar inched up to 106.17 Japanese yen from 106.15 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1835 from $1.1816.

___

AP Business Writers Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.

Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyBeat the Market™ RankCurrent PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Tesla (TSLA)1.5$430.28+2.7%N/A1,120.52Hold$201.53
Microsoft (MSFT)2.2$211.85+2.2%0.96%36.84Buy$217.45
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7 Gold Stocks to Buy Before the Fed Changes Its Mind

Just when investors thought that the price of gold couldn’t go any higher, the Federal Reserve added fuel to the fire. On July 29, the Fed said there was not sufficient evidence of an economic recovery to warrant changing their current policies. Not only does that mean that interest rates will stay at or nor zero, but that the Fed may initiate other actions as well. In his statement after the Fed meeting, chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed was “not even thinking about thinking about raising rates.” And while the novel coronavirus was certainly a factor, it’s not the only factor. The Fed is looking intently at the collateral damage from the lockdown measures in March and April. Over 14 million Americans who had jobs in February are unemployed. And many of those jobs will not be coming back.

This is creating the perfect scenario for gold and gold stocks. The price of gold has surged over 25% in 2020. At the time of this writing, it sits at $1,953 per ounce. Of course as soon as gold starts to near $2,000 the cries that the rally is over begin.

Are they right again? Maybe, but I’m a little skeptical. Gold always climbs during times of uncertainty. That’s true today more than ever. We’re months away from a presidential election. We’re learning how to live with a novel virus for which there is no vaccine. We have social unrest that has turned into riots in many major cities.

With that in mind, here are seven of the best gold stocks that you can invest in right now.

View the "7 Gold Stocks to Buy Before the Fed Changes Its Mind".

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