The flash purchasing managers index for the services sector fell to 46.5 in July from 48 in June, on a scale of 1-100 where 50 marks the break between expansion and contraction. Manufacturing remained in expansion, but fell to 50.5 from 50.7 in June, said the au Jibun Bank survey. It said new export orders declined, possibly reflecting supply bottlenecks. Output fell at the fastest pace in six months.
Tokyo advanced after a 4-day weekend as the Olympic Games began, a year late. Benchmarks fell in Hong Kong and Shanghai but rose in Sydney. Preliminary factory and service activity surveys in Japan showed a slowdown linked to recent tightening of pandemic precautions due to surging coronavirus cases. “Short-term disruption to activity is likely to continue until the latest wave of COVID-19 infections passes and restrictions enacted under the state of emergency laws are lifted,” Usamah Bhatti, economist at IHS Markit, said in a report.
Nonetheless, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225, tracking Wall Street’s strong finish on Friday, gained 1.2% to 27,864.79. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged less than 0.1% higher, to 7,397.60, while the Kospi in Seoul declined 0.4% to 3,240.46. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 2.9% to 26,527.06 after Chinese regulators said they were further tightening restrictions on tech companies. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 2.2% to 3,473.13.
On Friday, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all finished with gains of better than 1% for the week. They each returned to records after brushing aside the sharp downturn that trimmed 1.6% off the S&P 500 on July 19. But the market rebounded as big companies reported better profits than expected and as investors once again saw any dip in stocks as merely a chance to buy low. The S&P 500 index climbed 1% to 4,411.79. The Dow rose 0.7% to 35,061.55 and the Nasdaq composite gained 1% to 14,836.99.
Despite a rebound in new coronavirus cases, the U.S. economy continues to recover at a torrid pace, with the question being how much growth will slow in upcoming months and years. A preliminary report from IHS Markit on Friday indicated U.S. manufacturing growth may have unexpectedly accelerated this month, though growth in services industries looks to be slowing more than economists expected. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 1.26% on Monday. It has dropped from a perch of roughly 1.75% in late March, reflecting alarm over rising inflation.
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