Asian Shares Mostly Higher Ahead of US Midterms Vote

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in July in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Koji Sasahara / Associated Press
A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in July in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Koji Sasahara / Associated Press

BANGKOK — Share prices were mostly higher Tuesday in Asia as investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. midterm elections.

 

Keeping Score

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.1 percent to 22,147.75 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.6 percent to 2,089.62. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,660.33 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng bounced back, gaining 0.7 percent to 26,109.35. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 advanced 1.0 percent to 5,875.20. Shares fell in Taiwan but rose in Jakarta and Thailand. Markets were closed in Singapore for a public holiday.

 

Election Watch

Financial markets have been on a roller-coaster ride and the election Tuesday could roil things further. U.S. midterms, votes on lawmakers and other officials that fall between presidential elections, are often marked by low voter turnout. But political watchers are expecting voter angst over which party will control the U.S. House and Senate to drive more Americans to cast votes. Asia will be watching to see how the vote might influence U.S. trade, economic and security policies.

 

Analyst Viewpoint

“U.S. midterms may not spring any shocks in terms of who wins control of what but investors are understandably taking a cautious approach ahead of the results, given how markets have been over the last month,” Craig Erlam of OANDA said in a commentary.

 

Wall Street

U.S. stocks mostly rose Monday as financial and health care companies finished higher, while Apple and other technology companies fell further. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which owns GEICO and other insurance businesses, led the rally in financial stocks after it reported strong results over the weekend. The S&P 500 index added 0.6 percent to 2,738.31. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent to 25,461.70, but the Nasdaq composite sank 0.4 percent, to 7,328.85. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 0.47 point to 1,547.51.

 

China-US Trade

Keeping hopes alight for a resolution of a punishing trade war between the two biggest economies, a Chinese vice president, Wang Qishan, said at a conference in Singapore that Beijing is ready to discuss issues with the Trump administration. That followed positive assessments by both Chinese officials and President Donald Trump of a phone conversation last week between Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping.

 

Energy

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 20 cents to USD$62.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 4 cents to $63.10 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 41 cents to $72.76 per barrel.

 

Currencies

The dollar rose to 113.45 yen from 113.20 yen. The euro climbed to $1.1412 from $1.1408.

Story: Elaine Kurtenbach