Asia-Pacific shares were trading mixed on Friday as investors remained guarded ahead of the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole symposium where Fed Chair Jerome Powell will be speaking.
In Australia, the benchmark ASX200 pared early losses of almost 0.3% and was trading near flatline – down 0.03%. The financial subindex retracted its direction from a 0.4% loss to 0.21% gain, while the energy and materials sectors were down 0.18% and 0.28%, respectively. Meanwhile the COVID-19 situation in the country remained grim, as it reported over 900 cases yesterday, as well.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was trading in the red – down 0.51% -- while the Topix index fell 0.32%. In South Korea, the KOSPI turned positive and traded near the flat line – up 0.07%. The country’s central bank, had, yesterday hiked the interest rate by 25 basis points (bps) – becoming the first central bank of a developed economy to do so amid the pandemic
The Hang Seng Index in the Chinese Autonomous Region of Hong Kong also rose 0.48%.
In mainland China as well, shares were trading in the green: The Shanghai Composite was up 0.49% while the Shenzhen Component added 0.28%.
The Jackson Hole symposium, which is held annually, and hosted by the Federal Reserve, will be held virtually tonight. Investors are keeping their ear to the ground as Powell is set to state what he thinks about the state of the American economy and how he might guide the US apex bank’s withdrawal plan for the stimulus package.
The nervousness also reflected on Wall Street as the three major US indices finished lower during Thursday’s regular trading session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped its four-day winning streak while the S&P500 and the Nasdaq Composite both snapped their five-day winning streaks.