Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City. File/AFP
Asian markets mostly fell on Tuesday as traders took a step back after their latest rally, with a run of upbeat economic data offset by fears over a spike in new virus infections.
While several countries are suffering a fresh surge in infections — particularly the United States — the ongoing easing of lockdown measures and reopening of economies has been the key driver of a months-long surge across equities.
After the latest advances, which saw Shanghai hit a two-year high and the Nasdaq on Wall Street end at another record, dealers stepped back and took profits.
There was also some trepidation on trading floors after Donald Trump's top infectious diseases expert warned the US was still "knee-deep" in its first wave of coronavirus infections.
Anthony Fauci said the country was in "a serious situation that we have to address immediately".
That came as several states reported new daily records for new cases, with some reimposing lockdowns.
On Tuesday, Australian authorities said more than five million residents of Melbourne, the country's second-biggest city, will be locked down for six weeks after virus cases surged.
Hong Kong shed 1.4 percent after climbing more than eight percent over the previous four trading days, while Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Manila were also in negative territory.
Sydney and Jakarta were flat, while London, Paris and Frankfurt were all down in the morning as the European Union forecast a massive contraction in the eurozone economy this year.
But Shanghai rose 0.4 percent, having surged almost six percent Monday as retail investors piled back into the market.
Observers also pointed to an editorial in the China Securities Times on Monday that said fostering a "bull market" after the virus crisis was crucial to kick-starting the world's number two economy.
The composite index has risen more than 10 percent in just over a week, though there are worries about another bubble similar to the one that burst four years ago and sparked a global rout.
More gains to come?
"China's army of retail investors seem to be perfectly able to look through the worrying Western media headlines of another global coronavirus record," said AxiCorp's Stephen Innes.
"Instead, they are listening to the enthusiastic chorus from the nation's influential state media, which are universally singing bullish from the same song page."
He cited reports saying there had been a recent surge in new brokerage account openings.
Wellington, Mumbai and Bangkok also rose.
Traders have for weeks been trying to balance the reopening of economies with worries about the disease as it continues its march across the planet.
On Monday there was more positive data, with an index of the US service sector -- which makes up the vast majority of the economy -- seeing its biggest-ever jump in June to beat forecasts.
"Investors have recognised that as bad as the economy in the US is, it's not as bad as what people thought it would look like in March and April," said Nancy Prial at Essex Investment Management.
"The market has started to sense we might see better-than-anticipated results fairly broadly across a wide spread of companies."
In a sign that the reporting season could be positive, Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it expects to see operating profit jump 23 percent in the second quarter, which is much better than the single-digit fall that analysts had forecast.
The firm appears to have benefited as lockdowns boosted its chip business with data centres moving to stockpile DRAM chips to meet surging demand for online activities.
Key figures around 0810 GMT
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 22,614.69 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.4 percent at 25,975.66 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 2,245.34 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 6,234.63
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.4 percent at $40.07 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.2 percent at $42.58
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1285 from $1.1308 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 107.57 yen from 107.39 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2480 from $1.2489
Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.44 pence from 90.53 pence
New York - Dow: UP 1.8 percent at 26,287.03 (close)
A string of positive indicators from China to the US in recent weeks — as well hopes for a vaccine and the easing of lockdowns around the world — has added fuel to a global rally that has lifted equities out of the March depths.
The Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) injected $13.3 billion into the economy; Saudi banks deferred loan payments for all public and private healthcare personnel for three months.
Alphabet’s Google published reports for 131 countries showing whether visits to shops, parks and workplaces dropped in March, when many governments issued stay-at-home orders to rein in the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
DP World, one of the world’s largest trade and logistics firms, has conducted a pioneering study assessing the impact of climate change on its global network of Ports and Terminals (P&Ts) through to the end of the century. As the world prepares for the COP-28 climate talks in Dubai, some impacts
Building on several breakthroughs achieved in its waste-to-hydrogen demonstration plant, BEEAH, the Middle East’s sustainability pioneer, Chinook Hydrogen, a UK-based innovator of waste-to-fuel technologies, and Air Water Gas Solutions, a US-based Industrial gas company and a subsidiary of Air
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said Dubai has emerged as a platform for sustainability and innovation thanks to the array of events and exhibitions it hosts annually. Drawing the brightest minds and the latest innovations to Dubai, such events highlight
More than 100 climate tech startups are showcasing their work at COP28 UAE’s Start Up Village in the Green Zone. Operating in diverse sectors such as sustainable transport and agriculture, solar energy, and several others, these startups are offering innovative solutions that can contribute to a low-carbon