Asian shares were mixed Friday following a listless session on Wall Street, where a slide in banks and industrial companies offset solid gains for the technology sector. A lack of progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China was weighing on sentiment.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index jumped 0.6 percent to 22,554.19 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent to 6,260.00 with a change of its prime minister. The Kospi in South Korea was flat at 2,283.22 while the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.4 percent to 2,714.98. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.7 percent to 27,599.46. Shares were lower in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
WALL STREET: Stocks spent much of the day hovering just below their prior day closing levels. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to 2,856.98. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.3 percent to 25,656.98 and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.1 percent to 7,878.46. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 0.3 percent, to 1,717.05. Banks and other financial stocks took some of the biggest losses. Charles Schwab declined 1.5 percent to $50.17. Industrial stocks also fell. Caterpillar lost 2 percent to $136.79.
TRADE: Investors had their eye on the latest developments in the U.S.-China trade dispute as both nations ended their first high-level talks in two months with no sign of progress in breaking their deadlock. Markets showed little reaction to the latest round of dueling tariffs between the U.S. and China. The countries imposed 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion of each other's goods Thursday, including automobiles and factory equipment. The increases were announced previously.
AUSSIE SHAKEUP: Shares rose marginally after Australia's ruling party chose Treasurer Scott Morrison to become the next prime minister. Morrison is replacing Malcolm Turnbull, who resigned. Friday's ballot among Liberal Party lawmakers means Australia's sixth change of prime minister in 11 years, prolonging an era of extraordinary political instability. Morrison was regarded as the best economic manager among the candidates to replace Turnbull.
FED TALK: Traders were looking ahead to Friday's gathering of central bankers, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, an annual symposium that has often generated market-moving news. "It's been a fairly quiet day," said Paul Springmeyer, head of investments at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "There's obviously some reservation about what's going to come out from Jackson Hole, from Chairman Powell."
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 43 cents to $68.26 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 3 cents to $68.83 on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 37 cents to $75.10 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.46 yen from 111.26 yen late Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1553 from $1.1539.