The net positive of the deal with the Democrats in the U.S. to raise the debt limit was offset by continued uncertainty created by regional tensions around North Korean nuclear testing.
HONG KONG — Asian stocks were mixed Thursday as investor relief over a deal on the U.S. borrowing limits was offset by uncertainty over the departure of a senior Fed official and lingering North Korean tensions.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent to 19,387.63 and South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.1 percent to 2,345.73. The Shanghai Composite dipped 0.1 percent to 3,382.66 and other indexes gave up earlier gains, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipping 0.1 percent to 27,598.31 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 down less than 0.1 percent to 5,688.50. Taiwan’s benchmark fell and Southeast Asian indexes were mixed.
DEBT DEAL: Trump came to a deal with congressional Democrats to raise America’s debt limit for three months, overruling Republicans in the process. The immediate goal was ensuring money for storm relief as Trump sought to help speed the $7.9 billion aid bill for Hurricane Harvey victims, but the move also helps keep the government operating, removing some short-term uncertainty for investors.
FED IN FLUX: In a surprise announcement, the Federal Reserve said Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer will resign next month for personal reasons, leaving a fourth vacancy on the U.S. central bank’s seven-member governing board. The unexpected departure of Fischer, a widely-respected economist, adds to a leadership vacuum at the top of the Fed as it navigates a difficult path. It plans to slowly raise interest rates as the U.S. economy grows and unemployment falls, even as inflation remains below target, complicating its future course.
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