Asian Shares Retreat After Hawkish Fed Turn
Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Thursday, as investors reacted to the U.S. Federal Reserve predicting an earlier than expected timeline for a rate hike.
Fed officials projected hikes in interest rates by 2023, a year earlier than previously expected amid the vaccine rollout. The new forecasts boosted the dollar and caused a sell-off of U.S. Treasuries.
Chinese shares rebounded from three straight sessions of losses as data showing slowing factory output growth helped ease fears of policy tightening.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 7.28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,525.60, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended up 34.34 points, or 0.1 percent, at 28,471.18.
Japanese shares ended lower, with drug makers and technology companies underperforming. The Nikkei 225 Index slid 272.68 points, or 0.9 percent to settle at 29,018.33, while the broader Topix closed 0.6 percent lower at 1,963.57.
Medical platform service firm M3 lost 3.6 percent and conglomerate Sony fell 2.3 percent, while banks and insurers advanced as U.S. Treasury yields gained.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.2 percent, Dai-ichi Life Holdings advanced 2.5 percent and T&D Holdings added 3.1 percent.
Toshiba gained 1.3 percent after its chairman said he may step down after revamping its board and appointing a new CEO, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Australian markets saw modest losses as commodity prices slipped on dollar strength and amid China’s campaign to rein in raw material prices.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 27.20 points, or 0.4 percent to 7,359, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 32.90 points, or 0.4 percent, at 7,600.50.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell over 1 percent each, while gold miners Evolution Mining, Newcrest, Northern Star Resources and Regis Resources lost 3-5 percent.
Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Beach Energy fell 2-3 percent despite oil prices hitting multi-year highs on optimism over rising global demand. Whitehaven Coal plunged 11.5 percent as the coal producer cut its 2021 production guidance for the fourth time this year.
Coles tumbled 4.5 percent after the supermarket giant told investors it plans to grow its business through a range of new investments.
Banks ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac gained over 1 percent after data showed job creation in the country blew past expectations in May, with the unemployment rate tumbling to its lowest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Given soaring house prices, Reserve Bank governor Phil Lowe sounded a warning to the nation’s lenders to maintain borrowing standards.
Seoul stocks ended lower to snap a five-day winning streak on hawkish comments from the Fed. The Kospi dipped 13.72 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,264.96. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 1.1 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix gave up 2.3 percent.
New Zealand shares fell slightly on policy tightening fears after data showed the country’s economy bounced back with faster than expected GDP growth in the three months through March on the back of a housing boom and strong retail spending. The benchmark NZX-50 Index ended down 40.40 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,541.20.
U.S. stocks fell overnight as the Federal Reserve raised inflation expectations and forecast rate hikes in 2023 as economic activity heats up.
Eleven Fed officials forecast at least two hikes by the end of 2023, while seven officials expect a rate hike as soon as 2022.
The Dow dropped 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 shed half a percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2 percent.
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