recession fears, oil prices, currencies
SINGAPORE — Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Thursday as investors continued to monitor recession-related concerns.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose almost 1% and the Hang Seng Tech Index gained 1.42%.
Markets in mainland China initially struggled to orient themselves, but traded higher for the last time. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.58% and the Shenzhen Component rose 0.782%.
Japanese stock indices plunged. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% and the Topix 0.25%.
The South Korean Kospi gave up early gains to fall 1.46%, and the Kosdaq fell 3.76%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was slightly higher.
MSCI’s broadest Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity index fell 0.42%.
In economic data, Singapore is expected to release its inflation figures on Thursday.
After a rebound on Tuesday, US stocks traded lower overnight.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.12 points, or 0.15%, to 30,483.13. The S&P 500 slipped 0.13% to 3,759.89. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.15% to 11,053.08.
Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities, said there were very strong attempts to buy the bottom, but the market was only able to trade sideways.
“Daily percentage changes seem large when they happen, but it’s a game of relativity, and based on that the rallies have remained modest to say the least,” he said.
“In the background, the real fundamental outlook continues to deteriorate,” he added.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Wednesday that the central bank was “strongly committed to bringing inflation down.” Inflation hits 40-year highs in the United States
“It’s not at all our expected result, but [a recession is] certainly a possibility, and frankly, the events of the last few months around the world have made it more difficult for us to achieve what we want, which is 2% inflation and a still strong labor market” Powell said, adding nonetheless that he believed the economy is strong for now.
“Recession or hard-landing fears have heightened in most markets over the past 24 hours,” Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
Oil drops about 2%
Oil futures declined in Asian trading. Brent futures, the international benchmark, fell 2.52% to $108.92 a barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 2.73% to $103.29 a barrel.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 104.124.
The Japanese yen was trading at 135.34 to the dollar, strengthening slightly after weakening past 136 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6891 after falling more than $0.702 last week.