TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday on a wait-and-see mood that set in after another — albeit more modest — day of selling on Wall Street.
Inflation worries are on the minds of investors, including in Asia. Singapore inflation data released earlier in the week showed that inflation remained high, with core inflation rising to 4.8% year-on-year in July. The increase in food prices was 6.1%.
Benchmarks fell in afternoon trade in Japan and China, while gains in Australia and South Korea.
In the US, the new home report also fueled pessimism about a possible early recession. A slowdown in the US economy would be devastating for export-dependent Asia.
The next big event on the calendar is a speech on Friday by Jerome Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve. He will speak at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which has been the site of market-moving speeches in the past.
“As we approach the Jackson hole, economic risks seem to be manifesting in a variety of forms, from disappointing housing data to the manufacturing survey,” said Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 0.4% in the afternoon at 28,327.09. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5% to 6,998.10. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.6% to 2,448.81. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.2% to 19,262.55, while the Shanghai Composite fell 1.7% to 3,221.16.
Stocks edged up to modest losses on Wall Street on Tuesday as steady Treasury yields helped calm the market after its worst decline in months. The S&P 500 fell 9.26 points, or 0.2%, to 4,128.73 after trading between small gains and losses for the day.
Volatility is back on Wall Street after a strong summer of growing concern about how aggressively the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to beat high inflation. Recent comments from some Fed officials have dampened hopes that the Fed may be less hawkish than feared.
The report showed that sales of new homes slowed more than economists expected last month. The housing industry was one of the hardest hit by this year’s change in interest rates. As the Fed raised its key overnight rate, mortgage rates also rose, chilling the industry.
Such weak data on the US economy raises concerns that a recession may indeed be on the way, but it could also encourage the Fed to ease rate hikes. Concerns about a slowing economy are spreading around the world, and the value of one The euro fell below $1 especially amid concerns about Europe.
In energy trading, benchmark US crude fell 35 cents to $93.39 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 52 cents to $99.70 a barrel.
In foreign exchange, the US dollar fell to 136.68 Japanese yen from 136.72 yen. The price of the euro practically did not change and amounted to 99 cents.
AP Business writers Damian J. Troise and Stan Choe contributed.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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