Asian shares trend lower after Wall St ends with weekly loss

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Bangkok: Shares slipped Monday in most Asian markets after Wall Street benchmarks ended last week with a decline.

Stocks fell in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul but rose modestly in Sydney and Shanghai.

Japan reported its wholesale prices were near a 13-year high in August, adding to concerns over inflation as the country prepares for a leadership transition.

Prices have surged in the world’s three largest economies, and elsewhere, as supply chain troubles, shipping bottlenecks and other disruptions arising from the pandemic hinder a return to normal growth.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.3 per cent to 30,292.84 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.7per cent to 25,777.90. In Seoul, the Kospi edged 0.2 per cent lower to 3,122.35, while the S&P/ASX 200 picked up 0.2 per cent to 7,422.50. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3 per cent to 3,715.14.

Shares fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Cautious sentiments largely follow through with the downside move for US markets last week, amid growth concerns along with rising inflationary pressures,” Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a commentary.

Price pressures add to the likelihood that the Federal Reserve and other central banks might move sooner to nudge interest rates up from the ultra-low levels they have been kept at to help fend off the worst impacts of the pandemic.

On Friday, stocks pulled back and the S&P 500 lost 0.8 per cent in its fifth straight decline, ending 1.7 per cent lower for the week.

Stocks have traded in a narrow range for several weeks as many investors stick to the sidelines waiting to get a fuller understanding of where the economy is headed and how the pandemic is impacting businesses.

The S&P 500 fell 34.70 points to 4,458.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.8 per cent to 34,607.72. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite sank 0.9 per cent, to 15,115.49.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 1 per cent, to 2,227.55.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.33 per cent.

US inflation at the wholesale level climbed 8.3 per cent last month from August 2020, the biggest annual gain since the Labor Department started calculating the 12-month number in 2010.

Federal Reserve policymakers have said they believe inflation this year would be temporary and is a result of the economy recovering from the pandemic.

However, persistently high inflation could force the Fed’s hand to start pulling back on its bond-buying program and low interest rate policy sooner than anticipated.

The pandemic remains in the forefront of investors’ minds, as hospitals fill up in the South and other parts of the country. President Joe Biden announced Thursday that companies with more than 100 employees would be required to have their employees vaccinated or do weekly testing, an announcement big companies have been willing to embrace.

Apple fell 3.3 per cent after a federal judge ordered the iPhone maker to dismantle part of the competitive barricade guarding its closely run app store, which is one of its biggest moneymakers.

In other trading Monday, US benchmark crude oil added 39 cents to USD 70.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped USD 1.58 to USD 69.72 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the international pricing standard, climbed 37 cents to USD 73.29 per barrel.

The US dollar edged up to 109.95 Japanese yen from 109.90 yen. The euro slipped to USD 1.1804 from USD 1.1817.

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