Asia-Pacific markets were mixed in early trading on Friday, with investors remaining cautious after U.S. lawmakers appeared unable to move forward with a coronavirus stimulus bill.Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.24% immediately after the market opened, with the heavily weighted financial sub-index rising 0.75%. Shares of the country’s major banks rose the majority, with the National Australia Bank advancing 1.78%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 0.23% but the Topix index was slightly lower. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.22%.
The Asian session followed a mixed end on Wall Street on the night the S&P 500 failed to hit its February high again. This was despite positive data on US jobless claims that fell well below what economists had predicted, implying that the US labor market was starting to improve.
Lawmakers in the United States appear to be at a stalemate over the next round of coronavirus aid and an agreement on the legislation and passage of a bill appears weeks away.U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will not reopen discussions with Republicans on the issue until they increase their aid offer by $ 1 trillion . White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the administration and Democrats were at a “dead end.”
The US dollar traded lower against a basket of its peers, as the dollar index fell 0.07% to 93.269. The Japanese yen changed hands at 106.96 against the dollar and the Australian dollar traded almost flat at $ 0.7146.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.