Asian stocks mixed as investors reassess global economy

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday as investors reassessed the global economy following the International Monetary Bank’s global growth cut. They were also awaiting corporate earnings reports and the European Central Bank’s policy meeting later in the week.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 16,681.89, while South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.1 percent to 2,015.46. But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.9 percent to 21,859.23 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent to 5,488.70. Stocks in mainland China and Taiwan were lower, but indexes were higher in Indonesia and Singapore.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Speculation on monetary easing has run out of steam and market focus is now turned to company earnings, which are the better proxy of the underlying economic performance,” Margaret Yang, a markets strategist at CMC in Singapore, said in a daily commentary.

GLOBAL OUTLOOK: The IMF said Tuesday that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union will reduce global economic growth this year and next. It lowered its estimate for worldwide growth to 3.1 percent this year, 0.1 percentage point lower than its previous forecast. The downward growth revision added to a gloomy outlook amid questions about whether recent stock market rallies were sustainable. Major global stock market indexes have hit all-time highs since Britain’s Brexit referendum.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks finished mixed on Tuesday following a three-week rally. The Dow Jones industrial average inched 0.1 percent higher to set another record at 18,559.01. But the Standard & Poor’s 500 index pulled back from its record high, finishing 0.1 percent lower at 2,163.78. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.4 percent to 5,036.37.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. oil futures added 11 cents to $45.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 49 cents to close at $45.45 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the standard for oil sold internationally, gained 11 cents to $46.77 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 106.21 yen from 106.26, while the euro fell to $1.1009 from $1.1017.