Tokyo, Sept. 17 (BNA): Asian stocks were mixed on Friday after a batch of economic data pushed Wall Street to close mostly lower, according to the Associated Press.
Standards rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul, but fell in Shanghai and Sydney.
Across the region, concerns about the continued outbreak of the coronavirus weighed on sentiment.
In Japan, stocks are trading near three-decade highs in anticipation of a change in leadership after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga withdrew from running for the presidency of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Suga’s support levels have plummeted amid widespread public dissatisfaction with his administration’s response to the pandemic.
Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers and grassroots members will vote on September 29, and parliamentary elections are scheduled for next month.
Markets have been volatile as investors shift money between different sectors while analyzing the data for clues about the direction of the economy and how the Federal Reserve will react.
The central bank will meet next week, and investors will be listening closely for any comments on when and how much support for low interest rates helped boost stock gains throughout the year.
Small-cap stocks have also given up some ground. The Russell 2000 Index fell 0.1% to 2,232.91.
The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.7% last month. Economists had expected a contraction of 0.85%, given that spending would have fallen as the highly contagious delta version of COVID-19 prompts consumers to back away from shopping.
Wall Street was also weighed down by a disappointing report showing that weekly jobless claims rose more than expected.
Brent crude, the international pricing benchmark, slipped 18 cents to $75.49 a barrel.
The dollar rose to 109.87 yen from 109.81 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1768 from $1.1761.