Asian Shares Mixed On Fed Rate Hike Woes


Asian stocks ended Thursday’s session on a lackluster note, as investors digested another set of mixed earnings reports from big U.S. companies and sought clarity on whether the Federal Reserve will pause after a widely expected 25-basis point rate hike in May.

The dollar held steady after Fed Bank of New York President John Williams said that inflation is still too high and the central bank will use all its monetary policy tools to restore price stability.

China’s Shanghai Composite index finished marginally lower at 3,367.03 after the country’s central bank held key lending rates steady, as widely expected. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.1 percent to 20,396.97.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.2 percent to 28,657.57 amid speculation that Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda will leave monetary stimulus unchanged at his first policy meeting next week,

Seoul stocks closed lower on Fed rate hike worries. The Kospi slipped 0.5 percent to 2,563.11.

Australian markets ended flat with a negative bias as mining and gold stocks fell on growth worries, offsetting gains in the banking sector.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto lost 2.6 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, after iron ore prices fell overnight and Rio Tinto warned of inflationary risks.

Lithium miner Allkem slumped 5.2 percent despite reporting higher third-quarter revenue.

Northern Star Resources plunged 4.2 percent as higher U.S. yields weighed on bullion prices. Energy stocks also finished broadly lower as oil extended overnight losses on demand worries.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index closed 0.3 percent lower at 11,879.68 after new data showed consumer inflation in the country remained near historic highs in the first quarter.

U.S. stocks ended roughly flat for the second straight session overnight following mixed corporate earnings from top companies, including Netflix, Travelers and Morgan Stanley.

Traders also reacted to rising Treasury yields and the Fed’s Beige Book survey results showing that economic activity was little changed in recent weeks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up marginally, while the S&P 500 ended flat with a negative bias and the Dow eased 0.2 percent.

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