Asian shares mixed with most markets closed for Christmas

Business News

FILE – Pedestrians pass the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in New York. Stocks are ticking higher on Wall Street Wednesday, Dec. 23, following a mixed set of reports on the economy. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Stocks rose in China and were little changed in Japan on Friday with most world markets closed for Christmas holidays.

The mixed session followed an advance during Wall Street’s shortened Christmas Eve trading as investors began the holiday weekend seemingly untroubled over President Donald Trump’s threat not to sign a major economic stimulus package approved by Congress this week.

The economic packageremained in limbo after Republican lawmakers rejected Trump’s demand that the end-of-year spending bill give most Americans $2,000 COVID relief checks — far more than the $600 members of his own party had agreed to.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell less than 0.1% to 26,656.61 after the government reported that retail sales fell 2% from a year earlier in November, while consumer prices dropped the most they have in a decade.

The Shanghai Composite index surged 1% to 3,396.56. Shares also rose in Taiwan and in Thailand.

The dollar weakened to 103.54 Japanese yen from 103.65 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.2196 from $1.2186.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 index gained 0.4% to 3703.06 but ended the week down 0.2%. Relatively safe investments like utilities and real estate were among the biggest gainers, while energy stocks fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 30,199.87 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.3%, to 12,804.73.

Investors remain focused on Washington, where Democrats in Congress are expected to try to amend the $900 billion COVID stimulus bill that President Trump has threatened to veto. Democrats support higher payments for individuals, but that is unlikely to win support in the Republican-held Senate.

The hope has been that Trump will back away from his veto threat and the stimulus package might tide the economy over until widespread vaccinations can help the world begin to return to normal.

Meanwhile the U.S. economy has continued to deteriorate under widespread coronavirus outbreaks, infections and hospitalizations.

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