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Asian shares mixed, oil steady ahead of July 4 holiday in US


A person wearing a protective mask watches an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Monday, July 4, 2022, in Tokyo. Shares were mixed in Asia on Monday while U.S. futures fell ahead of the July 4 holiday in the U.S. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia on Monday while U.S. futures fell ahead of the July 4 holiday in the U.S.

Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Shanghai and Sydney but fell in Hong Kong and Seoul. Oil prices were steady after surging on Friday.

Shares in Japanese telecoms carrier KDDI Corp. fell as much as 4% Monday as the company grappled with outages that began early Saturday, affecting services to nearly 40 million people.

The company said Monday that most data-transmission services had been restored, but phone calls were still affected by the problems which KDDI said were technical issues with switching systems. As of mid-afternoon on Monday, KDDI's shares were down 1.8%.

Last week was the fourth losing week in the last five for Wall Street as investors fret over high inflation and the possibility that higher interest rates could bring on a recession.

The most optimistic scenario, a “Goldilocks outcome," would bring a slowdown significant enough to cool inflation running at its highest level in four decades but not so strong as to result in a “hard landing," Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

“This is a tall order that is far from guaranteed at this point," it said, noting that markets will be looking to comments in minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting, expected Wednesday.

Economic data over the last few weeks has shown that inflation remains hot and the economy is slowing. The latter has raised hopes on Wall Street that the Fed will eventually ease off its push to raise rates, which have been weighing on stocks, especially pricier sectors like technology.

Analysts don’t expect much of a rally for stocks until there are solid signs that inflation is cooling, and the latest data has yet to show that. Friday brought a report that Inflation in countries using the euro had set another eye-watering record, pushed higher by a huge increase in energy costs fueled partly by Russia’s war in Ukraine.


Annual inflation in the eurozone’s 19 countries hit 8.6% in June, surging past the 8.1% recorded in May, according to the latest numbers published Friday by the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat. Inflation is at its highest level since recordkeeping for the euro began in 1997.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to 26,153.81 on Monday while the Shanghai Composite index added 0.3% to 3,396.70. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.1% to 6,609.20.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.3% to 21,791.36 and the Kospi in Seoul declined 0.4% to 2,207.42. India's Sensex edged 0.1% higher, while shares fell in Bangkok and Taiwan.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 1.1%, recovering from early losses to close at 3,825.33. The gain snapped a four-day losing streak for the benchmark index, which still posted its fourth losing week in the last five.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1% to 31,097.26, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.9% to 11,127.85.

The S&P 500 closed out its worst quarter since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. Its performance in the first half of 2022 was the worst since the first six months of 1970. It has been in a bear market since last month, meaning an extended decline of 20% or more from its most recent peak.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set mortgage rates, was steady at 2.89% after falling Friday from Thursday's 2.97%.

Financial markets in the U.S. will be closed on Monday for Independence Day.

Wall Street remains concerned about the risk of a recession as economic growth slows and the Federal Reserve aggressively hikes interest rates. The Fed is raising rates to purposefully slow economic growth to help cool inflation, but could potentially go too far and bring on a recession.

The latest economic update on Friday for the manufacturing sector showed a slowdown in growth that was sharper in June than economists expected. That followed a worrisome report showing consumer confidence slipped to its lowest level in 16 months. Also, the U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 1.6% in the first quarter, partly due to weak consumer spending.

High gas prices have been big factor in pushing prices higher and squeezing pocketbooks.

Early Monday, benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 35 cents at $108.78 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $2.67 to $108.43 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, advanced 40 cents to $112.03 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 135.37 Japanese yen from 135.27 yen. The euro climbed to $1.0435 from $1.0429.

7 Commodities ETFs to Help Build a Hedge Against Inflation

Commodities are a broad category that covers agricultural products like wheat, corn, and soybeans. It also includes oil and derivative products such as gasoline, natural gas, and diesel fuel.

However, investing in commodities also covers precious metals such as gold and silver as well as base metals like copper and aluminum. And more recently, this sector includes items like lithium that will be needed in many of the emerging sectors of our economy.

Commodities trading is frequently done by trading contracts on the futures market. And it's not for faint-of-heart investors. Prices are volatile and can change quickly due to macroeconomic events.

However, at certain times, particularly in times of high inflation, commodities outperform the broader market. A practical alternative for individual investors looking to profit from commodities is to invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These funds give investors exposure to this sector while reducing the risk that comes from investing in any single commodity.

Here are seven ETFs that you can buy to help build a hedge against inflation.

View the "7 Commodities ETFs to Help Build a Hedge Against Inflation".

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