Asian stock markets declined Wednesday after Wall Street pulled back from a record as investors awaited a Federal Reserve report for signs of when US stimulus might be withdrawn. Investors also were uncertain how much farther China will go with a regulatory crackdown that set off a slide in its internet share prices. Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney retreated while Hong Kong advanced.
Investors were digesting US earnings reports while worries increased after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in areas where the coronavirus’s more contagious delta variant is spreading. “Investors turned cautious,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.
A meeting of the Federal Reserve board that began Tuesday is expected to bring an update on when the US central bank might start to reduce bond purchases that inject money into financial markets and keep interest rates low. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 per cent to 3,363.00, declining for a third day, while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 1.5 per cent to 27,561.50. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.2 per cent to 25,027.16.
The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.4 per cent to 3,220.17, while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gave up 0.8 per cent to 7,369.70. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined. On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 fell 0.5 per cent to 4,401.46, snapping a five-day streak of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.2 per cent to 35,058.52. The Nasdaq lost 1.2 per cent to 14,660.58.
Selling was most pronounced in technology and communication stocks, and in companies that rely on consumer spending. Traders shifted money into sectors seen as less risky, including utilities, health care and in companies that make household and personal goods. Shares in Chinese internet giants slid for a third day as investors waited for possible new action after Beijing stepped up anti-monopoly and data security enforcement against the industry. They were reported to be considering restrictions on for-profit education ventures.
Eqwires Research Analyst
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