BEIJING – Asian stock markets declined for a second day Tuesday as investors looked ahead to U.S. employment data for indications of possible inflation pressures.
Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated.
Overnight, Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.2% to a record as gains for Facebook, Nvidia and other tech stocks offset losses for other industries.
Investors are swinging between optimism about a global economic recovery underpinned by coronavirus vaccinations and worry that central banks might feel pressure to withdraw stimulus to cool rising inflation pressures.
Traders are watching U.S. jobs data due out Friday for signs of whether the labor market “will start to show initial signs of heating,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report.
The Federal Reserve says it believes a rise in prices of oil and other commodities is temporary, but wage increases can be more lasting.
Also Tuesday, the World Bank raised its forecast of China’s economic growth this year to 8.5% from its April prediction of 8.1%. The Washington-based lender said a full recovery requires progress in vaccinations against the coronavirus.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.7% to 3,579.73 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.9% to 28,801.05. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.8% to 29,024.63.
The Kospi in Seoul retreated 0.5% to 3,285.62 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.1% to 7,298.80.
India's Sensex opened down 0.2% at 52,624.43. Markets in New Zealand and Southeast Asia declined.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,290.61 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4% to 34,283.27.
The Nasdaq composite added 1% to a record 14,500.51.
Nvidia jumped 5% after The Sunday Times in Britain reported several big customers of U.K. semiconductor company Arm came out in support of its proposed takeover by Nvidia.
Facebook climbed 4.2% after a federal judge dismissed antitrust lawsuits brought against it by the Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general. Apple rose 1.3%, Microsoft gained 1.4% and Intel climbed 2.8%.
Stock prices look expensive to some investors after rising faster than corporate profits. Inflation remains a worry, even if more investors have come around to the Federal Reserve’s view that it will be only a temporary problem.
Economists expect Friday's U.S. jobs numbers to show employers added 700,000 more than they cut in June. That would be an acceleration following a couple months of disappointingly slow hiring. They also expect the report to show that average hourly earnings jumped 3.7% in June from a year earlier.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude declined 18 cents to $72.73 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.14 to $72.91 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 19 cents to $73.95 per barrel in London.
The dollar advanced to 110.57 yen from Monday's 110.55 yen. The euro retreated to $1.1920 from $1.1923.