SINGAPORE – Shares in Japan and Hong Kong led losses in major Asia-Pacific markets on Friday as the recent rally in US stocks broke momentum as the Nasdaq approached a three-day winning streak.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 1.42% while Topix is down 1.58%. Auto and technology stocks fell. SoftBank fell 2.25% and Sony 2.87%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.92% in early trade. Hang Seng Tech lost 2.51%, Alibaba lost 3.56% and the dinar lost 4.84%.
Stocks on the Chinese mainland also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index is down 0.63%, while the Shenzhen component is flat.
South Korea’s Kospi was down 1.22%, and Australia’s ASX 200 was also down 0.96%, with banking stocks falling.
Investors are anticipating the release of Chinese trade data on its exports and imports for the month of December.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%, the highest level since March 2020 and a return to the rate it was before the pandemic, according to Reuters.
In other corporate news in the region, Citi is set to sell its retail business in four Southeast Asian countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam — to Singaporean lender United Overseas Bank (UOB). UOB said Citi’s consumer business had a total net worth of about S$4 billion ($2.9 billion).
Inflation fears in focus
On Wall Street, stocks struggled on Thursday as tech stocks’ rebound faded, erasing gains made earlier this week.
The S&P 500 fell 1.42% to 4,659.03, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.51% to 14,806.81. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 176.70 points to close at 36,113.62, after rising more than 200 points earlier today.
Inflation concerns continued to focus, as data showed that the Producer Price Index, which measures the prices received by producers of goods, services and construction, rose 0.2% for the month of December. Overall, wholesale prices jumped nearly 10% in 2021, the highest-ever calendar-year increase ever in data going back to 2010.
Elsewhere, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to bring down his country’s high inflation, which hit 36% in December, as Turkey’s central bank prepares for another rate-setting meeting next week.
Currency and oil
The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 94.783, continuing its decline since the beginning of the week.
The Japanese yen was trading at 113.81 against the dollar, notably strong from levels above 114. The Australian dollar was at $0.7267, down slightly.
Oil prices fell during Asian hours. US crude fell 0.35% to $81.84 a barrel, and Brent futures lost 0.3% to $84.28.