Asia slightly higher despite Wall Street slump, virus fears


TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were slightly higher Friday despite some investor attention shifting again to the uncertainties in global economies amid the coronavirus pandemic, as reflected in the overnight fall on Wall Street.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was little changed but inched up less than 0.1% in morning trading to 23,326.00. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3% to 2,412.37. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 5,887.30. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2% to 24,398.87, while the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.5% to 3,286.68.

Another slide in technology companies helped pull stocks lower on Wall Street Thursday, extending losses from the day before.

The S&P 500 lost 0.8% after having been down 1.7% earlier. The selling was widespread, with eight of the 11 sectors that make up the benchmark index ending the day lower. The sectors that include Amazon, Facebook and Apple took the heaviest losses.

The selling came a day after the Federal Reserve said it will keep interest rates at nearly zero for years to support the wheezing economy. The statement failed to encourage Wall Street and the S&P 500 recorded its first loss in four days Wednesday.