NEW YORK, N.Y. – Shares were mixed Thursday in Asia after Wall Street recovered to record highs, but worries persist about damage to the regional economy from the new virus that began in China.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.3% to 23,474.78, shedding bigger early gains. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2% to 7,159.00 and the Shanghai Composite index picked up 0.5% to 2,989.31. But South Korea's Kospi lost 0.7% to 2,194.41. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.8% to 27,431.60 and India's Sensex lost 0.2% to 41,264.54. Shares also fell in Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore but rose in Jakarta.
Overnight, U.S. stocks shook off their latest virus-induced losses, breaching new record highs.
Technology stocks led the rally, as Apple rallied to recover most of its loss from the prior day. It dropped Tuesday after warning that revenue this quarter would fall short of forecasts due to the viral outbreak centered in China.
Worries remain about how disruptive the virus will be for manufacturing, travel and other economic activity across the region, but markets around the world rose as the number of new virus cases in China fell Wednesday. Expectations are also high that China and other central banks around the world will limit the economic damage through injections of cash into markets, lower interest rates and other stimulus measures, said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade.
The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 3,386.15, surpassing its record set last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4% to 29,348.03. The Nasdaq climbed 0.9% to 9,817.18 and also set a record.
“I think markets are a little too rosy now,” Cruz said. “There is this assumption that the actual impact won’t be much, and if there is one, central banks will be able to step in and keep us alive.”
The companies most at risk to slowdowns in China are also those that have grown to become some of the biggest components of the S&P 500. That gives their movements outsized effects on index funds, Cruz said.