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Asian stocks have followed Wall Street lower ahead of U.S. inflation data traders worry will show upward pressure on prices still is too strong for the Federal Reserve to ease off interest rate hikes. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul declined early Wednesday. Oil prices edged lower. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.4% for its fourth daily decline. U.S. government data are expected to show headline inflation in July eased from the previous month's four-decade high of 9.1%. But traders expect core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy, leaving rent and other expenses, to edge higher.
Asian shares are mostly declining amid a global fall in technology shares, including Japan’s SoftBank, which just reported hefty losses caused by the market downturn. Such worries are coming on top of concerns about inflation and what central banks might do to curb it. Shares fell Tuesday in Tokyo but rose in other regional markets. U.S. futures edged higher while oil prices fell. Analysts say regional tensions also remain a risk after the recent visit of U.S. House Speak Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Technology stocks were the biggest drag on Wall Street, where the benchmark S&P 500 edged 0.1% lower.
Asian stock markets are higher ahead of an update on the health of the U.S. jobs market while the Federal Reserve weighs whether more rate hikes are needed to cool surging inflation. U.S. futures and oil prices edged higher. Investors were looking ahead Friday to U.S. employment figures for signs of weakness that might prompt the Fed to decide it needs to ease off aggressive rate hikes to cool inflation. Investors worry rate increases by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia might derail economic growth. Fed officials point to a strong job market as evidence the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs.
The Bank of England has projected that the United Kingdom’s economy will enter a recession at the end of the year. To tame accelerating inflation driven by the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine, the bank hiked interest rates Thursday by the largest amount in more than 27 years. The bank says inflation will accelerate to over 13% in the final three months of the year and remain “very elevated” for much of 2023. The bank’s forecasters say inflation will hit its highest point for more than 42 years amid the doubling of wholesale natural gas prices tied to the war. Central banks worldwide are struggling to control surging inflation without tipping economies into recession.
Stocks are closing slightly lower on Wall Street Monday as investors began another busy week of earnings and economic reports. The S&P 500 fell 0.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also closed lower. U.S. crude oil prices dropped, weighing heavily on energy companies. Retailers and consumer product makers made solid gains. Boeing jumped after it cleared a key hurdle with federal regulators to resume deliveries of its large 787 airliner. August’s subdued opening follows a solid rally for stocks in July that marked the best month for the the benchmark S&P 500 since November 2020.
Inflation in the European countries using the euro currency shot up to another record in July, pushed by higher energy prices driven partly by the war in Ukraine. But the economy still managed better-than-expected, if meager, growth in the second quarter. The European Union statistics agency said Friday that annual inflation in the eurozone’s 19 countries rose to 8.9% in July, up from 8.6% in June. Inflation has been running at its highest level since record-keeping for the euro began in 1997. The economy grew from April through June, expanding by 0.7% compared with the previous quarter. Economists expect that to be the last glimmer of good news and the region to tip into recession later this year.
Asian shares are mostly higher following a broad rally on Wall Street, but Hong Kong's benchmark sank more than 2%. Investors have grown more convinced that the Federal Reserve may temper its aggressive interest rate hikes aimed at taming inflation after data showed the U.S. economy contracted in the last quarter. But investors are cautiously eyeing regional tensions over China’s stance on Taiwan after President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping spoke for more than two hours on Thursday. Japan's factory output in June jumped 8.9% from the previous month. The Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy contracted at a 0.9% annual pace in April-June following a 1.6% year-on-year drop in the first quarter.
Shares are mostly higher in Asia after the Federal Reserve ratcheted up its campaign against surging inflation by raising its key interest rate three-quarters of a point. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority matched that with an increase of its own. Oil prices pushed higher while U.S. futures edged lower. The Fed’s latest hike lifts the benchmark short-term rate to its highest level since 2018. The S&P 500 gained 2.6% and the technology heavy Nasdaq jumped by the most in over two years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed higher. Strong earnings from Google's owner Alphabet, Microsoft and other companies helped lift investors’ mood.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a hefty three-quarters of a point for a second straight time in its most aggressive drive in more than three decades to tame high inflation. The Fed’s move will raise its key rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, its highest level since 2018. Speaking at a news conference, Chair Jerome Powell gave mixed signals about the Fed’s next moves. He stressed that the central bank remains committed to defeating chronically high inflation, while at the same time holding out hope that it may soon shift to smaller rate hikes.