Asian markets mixed after Wall Street rises on dealmaking

Asian stocks were mixed Tuesday after Wall Street rose on a flurry of corporate deals and China’s economic activity improved.

Tokyo declined while Hong Kong and Seoul gained. Shanghai was little-changed.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 index closed 1.3% higher, driven by gains for technology, health care and finance stocks after chipmaker Nvidia and other companies announced acquisitions and drugmaker AstraZeneca said clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine will resume.

“Wall St. appears to have recovered some of its mojo,” Mizuho Bank said in a report. “The question to ask, though, is whether we are dealing with optimism or there is just optimism about deals.”

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The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2% to 3,283.93 after the government reported retail sales rose 0.5% in August over a year earlier for their first positive growth this year. The Chinese statistics agency said that was a sign of “stable and continuous” recovery from the economy’s downturn.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.6% to 23,427.30 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.6% to 24,795.77.

The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was down less than 0.1% at 5,897.40. New Zealand and Singapore gained while Jakarta retreated.

On Wall Street, tech stocks gained after Nvidia agreed to buy Softbank’s stake in chipmaker Arm for $40 billion.

Oracle climbed 4.3% after the software maker beat out Microsoft to become the “trusted technology provider” of Chinese-owned video app TikTok. The agreement still requires approval from the Trump administration, which deemed TikTok a security risk and demanded its sale to a U.S. owner.

In other deals, Gilead agreed to buy Immunomedics for $21 billion. Verizon purchased Tracfone for US$6.25 billion and Alibaba invested $4 billion in Grab.

The S&P 500 gained to 3,383.54. That reversed part of the index’s 2.5% slide last week, its biggest weekly decline since June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.2% to 27,993.33. The Nasdaq, which includes many tech stocks, picked up 1.9% to 11,056.65.

This week’s strong start is a reversal after slide in high-flying tech stocks that many analysts said was overdue.

AstraZeneca added 0.5% following the weekend announcement that clinical trials for its coronavirus vaccine will resume after a reported side-effect in a British patient. The vaccine is seen as one of the strongest contenders among the dozens of vaccines being tested.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil for October delivery gained 1 cent to $32.27 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 7 cents on Monday to $32.26. Brent crude oil for November delivery lost 2 cents to $39.59 per barrel in London. The contract dropped 22 cents in the previous session, to $39.61.

The dollar gained to 105.66 yen from Monday’s 105.72 yen. The euro rose to $1.1890 from $1.1865.

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