Markets in the Asia-Pacific basin were mixed at the start of trading on Friday, as investors remained cautious after US lawmakers appeared unable to move forward with the coronavirus stimulus bill.
The Australian ASX 200 rose 0.24% immediately after the market opened, with heavily weighted financial sub-indices rising 0.75%. Shares of the country’s major banks rose the most, with the National Bank of Australia up 1.78%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 0.23%, but the Topix index was partially lower. South Korea̵
The session in Asia followed a mixed end on Wall Street overnight, where the S&P 500 again failed to reach its record high of February. This was despite positive data on unemployment claims in the United States, which went well below what economists had predicted, suggesting that the US labor market is beginning to improve.
Legislators in the United States appear to be deadlocked for the next round of coronavirus aid, and an agreement to legislate and pass the bill appears to be weeks away.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will not resume talks with Republicans on the issue until they increase their aid offer by $ 1 trillion. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the administration and Democrats are at a dead end.
The US dollar traded lower against a basket than its peers as the dollar index fell 0.07% to 93,269. The Japanese yen changed hands to 106.96 against the dollar, and the Australian dollar traded close to the level of 0.7146 dollars.
- CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.