Asian stocks mostly down after the pullback in US stocks

TOKYO (AP) – Asian stocks fell mainly on Thursday after stock indices fell on Wall Street.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark fell 0.3% to end at 29,598.66, although it momentarily recovered after the big business daily Nikkei announced that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will propose a plan on Friday. Government stimulus totaling a record 55.7 trillion yen ($ 488 billion). The rally quickly ran out of steam as more serious concerns, such as the coronavirus pandemic, weighed in.

The Australian S & P / ASX 200 edged up 0.1% to 7,379.20, while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.4% to 2,952.19. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.3% to 25,312.09. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.4% to 3,525.09.

“Without a positive Wall Street lead overnight and a relatively calm day in terms of economic data, sentiments in the region could be on hold, potentially leading to sideways moves,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

Recent government data has shown that the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt the Japanese economy. A shortage of chips and other parts necessary for the production of automobiles, one of the pillars of the world’s third-largest economy, is one reason.

Another factor is the damage to consumer spending from recent government measures to close restaurants early and open theaters to limited crowds. Japan has never had a lockdown but has periodically called for a “state of emergency” to curb the spread of infections.

Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said the Japanese recovery that many initially planned to begin this year may not happen until fiscal 2022, which begins in April.

“But extreme pessimism is not necessary. Auto production will likely return to normal by the October-December quarter, ”he said.

Investors are also watching the Bank of Korea’s policy meeting scheduled for next week to see if the central bank will raise its key rate. Policy makers have hinted at such a move.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 4,688.67 and is just 13.03 points below its all-time high set a week and a half ago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% to 35,931.05, and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.3%, to 15,921.57.

Stocks rose mainly in the past month, with companies largely reporting much higher summer profits than analysts had expected.

Inflationary pressures – and their impact on business results – are under the microscope, with many companies warning their profit margins could suffer due to supply chain issues and higher costs for everything from worker wages to raw materials.

A report on the housing market showed some of these pressures. Builders opened fewer homes last month than in September, contrary to economists’ growth expectations. But the number of building permits has increased more than expected, perhaps showing that home builders are seeing those pressures eventually ease.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude fell 72 cents to $ 77.64 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost $ 2.40 to $ 78.36 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 45 cents to $ 79.83 a barrel.

In currency trading, the recent stall in the dollar rally has put some Asian markets in a wait-and-see state. The US dollar rose from 114.14 yen to 114.22 Japanese yen. The euro slipped to $ 1.1319 from $ 1.1322.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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