Asian shares were mixed Thursday in cautious trading ahead of a Bank of England meeting, Friday’s release of China’s GDP data, and as investors digest new British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet.
Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.9 percent at 16,370.71. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.2 percent at 21,367.41. China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 0.4 percent to 3,047.86. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was up 0.3 percent at 5,404.30. South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 2,005.32. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.
U.S. stocks inched up to another record on Wednesday after spending much of the day flitting between gains and losses, stretching the winning streak that began with a strong U.S. jobs report on Friday into a fourth day. The S&P 500 edged up 0.29 points to 2,152.43. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.45 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,372.12. The Nasdaq composite lost 17.09 points, or 0.3 percent, at 5,005.73.
“Risk appetite took a breather ahead of the BoE meeting today [and perhaps China GDP tomorrow] and as Theresa May’s new Cabinet was digested,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank Ltd.
Theresa May entered No. 10 Downing St. on Wednesday as Britain’s new prime minister, following a bittersweet exit by David Cameron and amid uncertainty and tough wrangling over Britain’s departure from the European Union. Britain’s transition of power unfolded with startling speed since the June 23 referendum on EU membership. Cameron announced his resignation after voters rejected his appeal to stay in the 28-nation bloc, and May, the former home secretary, became Conservative Party leader Monday. She began appointing her new Cabinet within an hour of taking office, and several posts went to “leave” supporters, including former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was given the meaty job of foreign secretary.
The dollar rose to 104.64 yen after closing at 104.12 on Wednesday. The euro was nearly flat at $1.1105 after closing at $1.1091 the previous day.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 57 cents at $45.32 a barrel after closing at $44.75 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, added 52 cents to $46.78 a barrel. On Wednesday, it closed at $46.26 a barrel.