Asian shares mostly fall, taking cue from Wall Street, Fed

Asian shares were mostly lower Monday after Wall Street ended last week lower as investors continue to watch for what may be in store for U.S. interest rates.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2% in early trading to 21,415.51. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed but a tad lower at 6,699.70 in morning trading. South Korea’s Kospi inched down but was little changed at 2,094.31. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost nearly 0.6% to 28,606.89, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.8% to 2,924.20.

U.S. stocks pulled further back from their records on Friday to cap the weakest week for the S&P 500 since May as sentiments turned lower after Iran said it seized a British oil tanker, the latest escalation of tensions between Tehran and the West.

The S&P 500 fell 18.50 points, or 0.6%, to 2,976.61. After setting its record high on Monday, the index see-sawed mostly lower and lost 1.2% for the week. It’s just the second down week for the index in the last seven. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68.77, or 0.3%, to 27,154.20, and the Nasdaq composite lost 60.75, or 0.7%, to 8,146.49.

Momentum for U.S. stocks has slowed since early June, when they began soaring on expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates for the first time in a decade to ensure the U.S. economy doesn’t succumb to weaknesses abroad. The Fed’s next meeting is scheduled for the end of this month.

“With the markets wholly captivated by the looser the policy, the better the risk opportunities, investors could remain singularly focused on the Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank policy decision and communications as global equity markets continue to have their ups and down based on the perceived degree of accommodative central bank policy,” said Stephen Innes of Vanguard Markets said in a commentary.


Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 37 cents to $56.13 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 65 cents to $63.12 per barrel.


The dollar rose to 107.99 Japanese yen from 107.60 yen Friday. The euro weakened to $1.1212 from $1.1239.


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

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