SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday but Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 broke a record winning streak with its first loss in 17 straight trading sessions. Investors are eyeing upcoming corporate earnings reports and U.S. politics for clues about the next Federal Reserve chair.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan was the only major index in the red as investors locked in gains. The Nikkei 225 index lost 0.5 percent to 21,707.62. South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,492.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.3 percent to 28,243.72. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.2 percent to 3,394.44. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 percent to 5,905.60. Shares in Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries were mostly in the black.
JAPAN'S WINNING STREAK ENDS: Profit-taking pressures prevailed with pharmaceutical and energy-related shares leading losses. It was the first daily loss for the Nikkei after 16 straight days of moderate gains — the longest since World War II — that had raised talk of a "bubble."
FED HEAD: President Donald Trump is polling Republican senators for advice as he nears a decision to name a new head of the Fed. Other top candidates include current Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Fed board member Jerome Powell.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Markets are bracing for an announcement for the next Fed Chair soon," Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary. Among the candidates is John Taylor, a Stanford University economist who advocates higher interest rates. His nomination would be perceived to be "a hawkish risk," it said.
EARNINGS: A slew of companies in the U.S. and in Asia are announcing their quarterly financial results this week and next week. South Korean panel supplier LG Display, a supplier to Apple, reported a 150 percent jump in its net income for the July-September quarter. Other tech and auto exporters in South Korea and Japan are due to report earnings, which would give better ideas about global demand for Asian export items and the pace of global recovery.
WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished with gains on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.2 percent to 2,569.13. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 0.7 percent to 23,441.76. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.2 percent to 6,598.43. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 0.2 percent to 1,500.42.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 10 cents to $52.36 per barrel in electronic trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped 57 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $52.47 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 19 cents to $58.52 per barrel in London. It surged 96 cents, or 1.7 percent, to finish at $58.33 a barrel on Tuesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.86 yen from 113.91 yen. The euro rose to $1.1765 from $1.1762.