Bangkok, June 21 (BNA): Most stocks fell Wednesday in Asia after Wall Street indices fell after the S&P 500 rose to its highest level since the spring of last year.
US futures changed little and oil prices rose.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.1% to 33427.14, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 1.5% to 19607.08. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.5% to 3240.36 and the Kospi Index in Seoul fell 0.4% to 2594.19.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2% to 7,345.30.
The Associated Press reported that this week contains a handful of potentially market-moving events.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday. Last week, the Fed held its benchmark lending rate steady, the first time in more than a year that it did not announce an increase. But it also warned that it could raise interest rates twice more this year.
The Bank of England will meet on Thursday on interest rate policy. Central banks around the world are heading in different directions as they battle inflation amid fears of global economic stress.
“Investors are cautious ahead of another big dose of Fedspeak amid a relatively light data schedule,” Stephen Innes of SBI Asset Management said in a commentary.
He added that “with central banks in a mood to play off inflation pain these days, investors may need to see some positive convergence in inflation data to narrow the wide divergence between the Fed and market futures inflation expectations before breaking new ground higher in US stocks.”
On Tuesday as US markets reopened after being closed for the June holidays, the S&P 500 fell 0.5% to 4,388.71. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7%, to 34,053.87, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.2%, to 13,667.29.
The US stock market has taken a step back after many steps forward in hopes that the economy can avoid a recession and inflation is falling enough for the Federal Reserve to stop raising interest rates soon. The frenzy around artificial intelligence has also driven a select group of technology stocks to huge gains.
Those hopes combat fears that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates high for longer, which could weaken the economy. Some of the easiest improvements in year-over-year inflation will soon be passed, bringing more challenging times for both the economy and financial markets.
During the 1970s, inflation remained high for much longer than expected, forcing the Fed to finally push the economy into a painful recession.
Meanwhile, the world’s second-largest economy, China, is faltering in recovery after easing restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus.
Most of Wall Street fell, with four out of five S&P 500 stocks falling.
Concerns about the global economy have lowered the price of crude oil and the stocks of companies that pull it from the ground. Energy stocks fell 2.3 percent, the biggest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. Exxon Mobil fell 2.3 percent and Chevron 2.3 percent.
Ball Corp, which makes aluminum cans and other products, fell 4.2%. On Tuesday, it said it was examining options for its aviation business, but “there is no certainty that any formal decision will be taken.” Its stock jumped 7.2% on Friday after a report that it was looking to sell the unit.
On the gaining side was Dice Therapeutics, which rose 37.2% after Eli Lilly said it would buy the biopharmaceutical company for $2.4 billion in cash. Lilly added 0.9%.
Homebuilders rose after a report showed that US homebuilders broke ground in more locations last month than economists had expected. The number of building permits, which is an indicator of future activity, also accelerated faster than expected.
PulteGroup stock was up 1.9%, and DR Horton was up 1.6%.
In other trading on Wednesday, the price of US crude oil rose 29 cents to $71.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, added 18 cents to $75.17 a barrel.
The dollar rose to 141.70 yen from 141.34 yen. The euro fell to $1.0916 from $1.0922.
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