Asian shares mixed in narrow trade ahead of Fed meeting – San Bernardino Sun

By YURI KAGEYAMA

TOKYO (AP) – Asian shares were mixed in quiet trade on Wednesday as more investors stood on the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that will show how active they are in the future. fighting inflation.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.7% in morning trade to 26,929.94. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,726.43. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9% to 24,461.63, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.5% to 3,450.55. Trading was closed in Australia on Australia Day.

Concerns about omicrons remain throughout the region. In China, reported COVID-19 cases have dropped but worries remain, especially ahead of next week’s Lunar New Year holiday and the opening of the Beijing Olympics on February 4.

In Japan, the government has extended many national restrictions, which require restaurants to close early. But surveys show that people are reacting more to reports of increased cases, not necessarily government measures.

On Wall Street, stocks bounced off late afternoon lows. But another round of selling during the last trading hour dragged the price lower once again. Tech stocks are the biggest drag on the market.

The S&P 500 fell 1.2% after falling 2.8%. The benchmark index has been falling steadily for the whole month and is now down 9.2% from the all-time high it set on Jan. 3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.2% and the Nasdaq is down 0.2%. heavy on technology decreased by 2.3%.

Higher inflation has been squeezing businesses and consumers alike, and the Federal Reserve is expected to combat it in 2022 by raising interest rates. Investors are concerned that the Fed may move too late or may be too aggressive. The central bank released its latest policy statement on Wednesday.

The virus pandemic still rages across the economy and threatens to disrupt progress with every new wave. The International Monetary Fund cited the omicron variation as the reason it downgraded its forecast for global economic growth this year.

And a potential conflict between Russia and Ukraine risks driving energy prices even higher while forcing more countries to focus on the war rather than inflation and COVID-19.

Barry Bannister, chief equity strategist at Stifel, said Wall Street is facing signs of slowing economic growth because of COVID-19 and the Fed can’t really go back to what it has said.

“The market has accepted that and that is a big deal,” he said. “Fiscal and monetary tightening, together, will make it difficult for financial assets as they come out of the way of the stimulus-hungry side.”

Still, the major stock indexes’ drop to intraday lows could be a sign that some investors are betting that the lackluster economic growth outlook could prompt the Fed to make a bold move. a more measured approach to raising interest rates.

“Weaker economic growth forecasts have contributed to investors breathing a sigh of relief that the Fed won’t have to be so aggressive,” said Sam Stovall, investment strategist at CFRA.

The S&P 500 fell 53.68 points to 4,356.45. This week, the index has come a notable distance into a “correction,” which among market watchers means a 10% drop from its peak.

The Dow fell 66.77 points to 34,297.73. The blue-chip index fell 818 points in the morning session.

Nasdaq fell 315.83 points to 13,539.29. The index was initially down 3.2%. It started correcting last week and is now down more than 15% from the highs set on November 19.

Shares of small companies also lost ground. The Russell 2000 index dropped 29.48 points, or 1.5%, to 2,004.03.

Technology stocks continued to lead the decline as investors worried about rising interest rates. Higher interest rates tend to make the shares of high-tech companies and other expensive growth stocks less attractive. Microsoft fell 2.7%.

Retailers and media companies also fell. Home Depot is down 1.3% and Netflix is ​​down 5.4%. American Express’s 8.9% gain was the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the credit card company reported that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 20% from a year earlier.

In energy trading, the price of benchmark US crude lost 26 cents to $85.34 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 10 cents to $88.10 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar was unchanged at 113.87 Japanese yen. The euro was also unchanged at $1.1306.

_____

AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise, Alex Veiga and Stan Choe contributed.

https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/25/asian-shares-mixed-in-narrow-trading-ahead-of-fed-meeting/ Asian shares mixed in narrow trade ahead of Fed meeting – San Bernardino Sun

Tom Vazquez

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