Share story

TOKYO (AP) — Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Tuesday ahead of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.6 percent to 20,195.48 on expectations the yen will weaken further against the dollar as the central bank strives to keep long-term bond yields low.

KEEPING SCORE: In other markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.5 percent to 25,895.27. The Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.6 percent to 2,396.46 while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent higher to 5,728.90. The Shanghai Composite index reversed early losses to gain 0.2 percent to 3,220.37 while shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.

WALL STREET: Gains by technology and materials stocks were mostly outweighed by losses among real estate companies, banks and other sectors. Macy’s and other big retailers also took hefty losses. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 0.1 percent to 2,427.43 while the Dow Jones industrial average was almost flat at 21,408.52. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4 percent, to 6,176.39.

YELLEN FACTOR: Traders are looking ahead to potential news out of the Federal Reserve when Yellen addresses Congress on Wednesday and Thursday. “We’re going through a transition phase where interest rates and Fed policy were very friendly for quite some time and that was the most important support for the markets,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 26 cents to $44.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 17 cents to settle at $44.40 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 25 cents to $47.13 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 114.43 from 114.04 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1394 from $1.1400.


AP Business Writer Alex Veiga in Los Angeles, California, contributed.