Asian stocks followed Wall Street lower on Thursday as investors watched Washington for signs of whether political leaders can agree on an economic aid plan in the two weeks before the November 3 presidential election.
Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul retreated.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0,2 percent on Wednesday as US political leaders wrangled over economic aid following the expiration of extra unemployment benefits that propped up consumer spending. Democrats are pressing President Donald Trump’s Republicans to expand a proposed package.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said she made progress in talks with the White House. But a potential agreement might face opposition in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow Republicans he warned the White House not to seal a relief deal before the election.
“Fiscal stimulus deal optimism has faded,” said Mizuho Bank in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1 percent to 3 291,99 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0,8 percent to 23 454,85. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong retreated 0,3 percent to 24 683,33.
The Kospi in Seoul was 0,8 percent lower at 2 353,32 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 0,6 percent to 6 153,50. New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta also retreated.
Markets are swinging between optimism about possible development of a coronavirus vaccine and uncertainty about the US economic outlook without an aid package.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 declined to 3 435,56. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4 percent. The Nasdaq composite gave up 0,3 percent to 11 484,69.
Industrial and health care stocks declined. Communications services gained. Social media stocks rose after the photo service Snap reported bigger gains in revenue and users than expected.
The dollar gained to 104,73 Japanese yen from Wednesday’s 104,54 yen. The euro declined to $1,1843 from $1,1862. — AP.