Asian stocks mixed after Wall St gain, Powell warns on rates


BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street rose and the Federal Reserve chairman said he would raise interest rates further if needed to calm inflation.

Shanghai and Hong Kong fell. Tokyo and Seoul advanced. Oil prices rose to stay above $110 a barrel.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 rose by an unusually wide 2% daily margin after positive U.S. retail sales data helped offset concerns about inflation.

The Fed will have to “consider acting more aggressively” if inflation, which is at its highest level in four decades, fails to subside after earlier rate hikes, Chairman Jerome Powell said during a briefing. a Wall Street Journal conference.

Expectations for rate hikes “rose” due to Powell’s comments, but “markets are ignoring this and need a break” after a sell-off, IG’s Yeap Jun Rong said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5% to 3,077.88 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.7% to 20,470.28.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.7% after the government announced that economic output fell 0.2% in the first three months of 2022. That was stronger than expected.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.2% to 2,626.91 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 1% to 7,183.30.

The New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets grew.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced to 4,088.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3% to 32,654.59. The Nasdaq gained 2.8% to 11,984.52.

Big tech stocks led the rally. Apple and Microsoft were among the big winners.

Shares of small companies rose more than the rest of the market, a sign that investors are optimistic about the economy. Treasury yields rose.

Investors hailed a Commerce Department report that showed retail sales rose 0.9% in April.

Consumers provide essential support to the economy despite higher gas, food and rent costs. The economy contracted in the first three months of the year, but consumer and business spending still grew at a healthy pace.

The Fed and other central banks are raising interest rates that have been near zero during the coronavirus pandemic or say they plan to do so in order to calm inflation.

Supply chain issues have prompted companies to raise prices for everything from food to clothing as demand rebounds from the pandemic.

Oil and gas prices have been pushed higher by Russia’s war with Ukraine, which has fueled fears that Russian supplies will be disrupted.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.13 a barrel to $113.52 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.80 on Tuesday to $112.40. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, added 60 cents to $112.53 a barrel in London. It was down $2.31 the previous session at $111.93.

The dollar fell to 129.17 yen from 129.42 yen on Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.0531 from $1.0543.


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