Growth Concerns Push Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower on Friday, tracking a sell-off on Wall Street overnight, as traders continued to react to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday, when the central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points as expected. Concerns about higher rates, inflation, the economic outlook and the ongoing war in Ukraine also remain. Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday.

The Australian stock market is sharply lower on Friday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,200 level, following the sell-off overnight on Wall Street, with weakness in materials and energy stocks amid falling commodity prices. Technology stocks also mirrored their US peers on tech-heavy Nasdaq lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 169.90 points or 2.31 percent to 7,194.80, after hitting a low of 7,175.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 183.30 points or 2.40 percent to 7,455.90. Australian markets ended significantly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto and Mineral Resources are losing more than 2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is down more than 1 percent, OZ Minerals is sliding more than 3 percent and BHP Group is declining almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are lower. Woodside Petroleum is losing more than 2 percent, Beach energy is slipping almost 4 percent, Origin Energy is edging down 0.5 percent and Santos is declining almost 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is losing almost 4 percent, Zip is slipping almost 2 percent, Xero is plunging more than 7 percent and Appen is declining 4.5 percent. Afterpay owner Block is sliding more than 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac is losing more than 1 percent and Commonwealth Bank is declining almost 2 percent, while National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging down 0.5 percent each.

Gold miners are weak. Evolution Mining is losing more than 2 percent, while Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are declining almost 2 percent each. Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are slipping almost 3 percent each.

In other news, shares in Macquarie are down almost 6 percent despite reporting a full-year profit that jumped 56 percent and topped analyst estimates. It also boosted dividend. However, the company provided a weak outlook for the next year.

Shares in News Corp are losing more than 8 percent after it announced a hike in prices at its sports streaming service Kayo.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.711 on Friday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher on Friday, after being in the red in most of the morning session on resuming after a three-day holiday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 staying above the 26,800 level, despite the sell-off overnight on Wall Street, with technology stocks mirroring their US peers on tech-heavy Nasdaq lower, more than offset by gains in financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,850.53, up 32.00 points or 0.12 percent, after hitting a low of 26,543.29 earlier. Japanese shares closed slightly lower on Monday prior to a three-day holiday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent and Toyota is adding almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is sliding almost 1 percent, Screen Holdings is losing more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is gaining more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is up more than 2 percent.

Among major exporters, Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are slipping almost 1 percent each, while Canon is adding more than 1 percent. Panasonic is flat.

Among the other major losers, Shiseido is plunging more than 7 percent, while M3 and Recruit Holdings are slipping almost 5 percent each. Rakuten Group is losing almost 4 percent, while Eisai and Omron are down more than 3 percent each. Nintendo and Japan Exchange Group are sliding almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Tokyo Electric Power is soaring almost 10 percent and Komatsu is surging more than 6 percent, while Mitsui & Co., JGC Holdings and Sojitz are adding more than 5 percent each. Inpex is up more than 4 percent, while Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan Steel Works, Idemitsu Kosan, Fujitsu and Kansai Electric Power are rising almost 4 percent each. Seven & I Holdings and Daiichi Sankyo are gaining more than 3 percent each, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Express are up almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region were up 2.5 percent on year in April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That topped expectations for an increase of 2.2 percent and was up from 1.3 percent in March. On a monthly basis, overall inflation rose 0.4 percent. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile costs of food, increased 1.9 percent on year – also exceeding forecasts for 1.8 percent and up from 0.8 percent in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 130 yen-range on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are losing 3.1 and 2.0 percent, respectively. New Zealand, China, South Korea and Singapore are lower by between 1.2 and 1.5 percent each, while Malaysia is down 0.4 percent. Indonesia remains closed for Eid-ul-Fitr holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a substantial move back to the downside on Thursday following the rally seen going into the close of Wednesday’s trading. The major averages more than offset yesterday’s gains, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunging to its lowest closing level in well over a year.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels in late-day trading but still posted steep losses. The Dow dove 1,063.09 points or 3.1 percent to 32,997.97, the Nasdaq plummeted 647.16 points or 5 percent to 12,317.69 and the S&P 500 tumbled 153.30 points or 3.6 percent to 4,146.87.

Meanwhile, the major European markets ended the day mixed after an early rally. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index declined by 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled higher Thursday, benefitting from the European Union proposal to impose sanctions on Russian oil, although prices pared some gains as the dollar rebounded on safe haven buying. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $0.45 or 0.4 percent at $108.26 a barrel.

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