BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly lower Wednesday after the World Bank cut its global growth forecast, as investors looked ahead to Chinese trade data.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4 percent to 2,922.98 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.3 percent to 21,276.25. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent to 16,774.50 while Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.1 percent to 2,013.21. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.1 percent to 5,366.40 and New Zealand also declined. Benchmarks for Taiwan and Singapore rose but Indonesia was lower.
WALL STREET: Stocks edged up, led by gains for energy companies as oil prices rose. Chevron rose 2.1 percent while Newfield Exploration added 4.7 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index both gained 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite, heavily weighted with biotech companies, lost 0.1 percent.
GLOBAL GROWTH: The World Bank cut its forecast for this year's global economic growth to 2.4 percent from the 2.9 percent pace projected in January. It cited sluggish growth in advanced economies, stubbornly low commodity prices, weak global trade and diminishing capital flows. It said half the revision was prompted by the struggle of commodity-exporting economies to adapt to lower prices for oil and other key commodities.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "It does seemed like the various financial markets are a little disjointed, as trades are somewhat odd," said Bernard Aw of IG in a report. He pointed to a slump in yields on German, Japanese and other sovereign bonds, which forces investors to buy riskier assets. "Global equities are firmer, but it is not indicative of an uptake in risk appetite," said Aw. "The upmove was mostly driven by higher oil prices."
CHINESE TRADE: Investors looked ahead to data that were expected to show China's trade contracted in May for another month, with exports declining 4 percent and imports down about 7 percent. The weakness threatens to disrupt Beijing's efforts to lift the economy out of a slump, potentially requiring more stimulus that would set back efforts to reduce reliance on trade and investment.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 3 cents to $50.39 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 67 cents on Tuesday to close at $50.36. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 4 cents to $51.40 per barrel in London. It jumped 89 cents the previous session to $51.44.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 106.83 yen from Tuesday's 107.31 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1370 from $1.1356.