HONG KONG — Asian stock markets were uneven and the dollar fell on Friday following Wall Street’s retreat as the threat of a U.S. federal government shutdown loomed on the weekend.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 climbed 0.3 percent to 23,836.84 and South Korea’s Kospi was flat at 2,517.19. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent to 32,188.11 while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China rose 0.4 percent to 3,488.87. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.1 percent to 6,010.00. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia.
SHUTDOWN: U.S. politicians were scrambling to avert a possible federal government shutdown before a midnight Friday deadline. House lawmakers voted for a funding bill that would keep agency doors open and federal workers at their jobs until mid-February, but the measure faced uncertain prospects in the Senate. A shutdown could hurt consumer spending and rattle markets, though it’s unlikely to cause widespread economic damage, Credit Suisse economists said in a note on Thursday.
TRADER TALK: “A predictable air of caution has engulfed global equity markets as we approach the final bell for U.S. budget showdown,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA. “But in the bigger scheme of things this case of hiccups is likely to pass as quickly as it arrived.”
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