TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher in muted trading Monday, as worries about the pandemic kept optimism in check despite a rally that closed out last week on Wall Street.
Investors growing wary over upcoming earnings reports have been cashing in recent gains, helping pull Japanese shares lower. Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3% to 23,543.95. Big exporters logged some of the largest losses, with Toyota Motor Corp. falling 0.6% and Honda Motor Co. shedding 1.8%.
Japan reported core private sector machinery orders edged 0.2% higher in August, contrary to forecasts for a decline. But overall, economic indicators remain weak.
Other regional benchmarks were rising. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6% to 2,406.87. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up nearly 0.2% to 6,113.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.3% to 24,434.17, while the Shanghai Composite added 1.7% to 3,325.98.
“While U.S. politics remain center stage, a string of Asia releases and monetary policy meeting decisions will be watched this week,” said Jingyi Pan, senior market strategist at IG in Singapore, referring to central bank meetings in South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore.
Indicators out of China, such as trade and inflation readings also remain on investors’ minds.
Wall Street closed out its best week in three months on Friday as negotiations on Capitol Hill aimed at delivering more aid to the ailing U.S. economy encouraged investors. The S&P 500 rose 0.9% to 3,477.14, its third straight gain. The benchmark index ended the week with a 3.8% gain, its strongest rally since early July.
Signs as of late Sunday were not promising. A new White House coronavirus aid proposal got bad reviews from both ends of the political spectrum. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the most generous Trump administration plan to date as “one step forward, two steps back.” The Republicans