Asian Stocks Decline As U.S. CPI Renews Fed Fears

Asian markets lost further on Wednesday as markets weighed the risk of sticky inflation on central banks’ monetary policy and the likelihood of a recession following the release of the latest CPI numbers from the U.S.

Data from the U.S. on Tuesday had shown that inflation cooled in January but less than what markets had expected.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.4 percent to 3,280.49. The day’s trading ranged between 3,274.55 and 3,296.20. The Shenzhen Component Index lost 31 points or 0.3 percent to close at 12,064.38.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 Index shed 100.91 points or 0.4 percent to end trading at 27,501.86. The day’s trading range was between 27,444.13 and 27,720.27.

Sentiment remained tethered to fears of further rate hikes by the Fed as well as the prospects of a likely shift in Bank of Japan’s monetary policy stance under the new Governor.

Citizen Holdings surged 9.2 percent and was the top gainer. Rakuten Inc. rallied more than 7 percent. Sumitomo Osaka Cement gained more than 6 percent. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. and Taiheiyo Cement Corp. both rallied more than 4 percent.

Recruit Holdings declined more than 4 percent. Resonac Holdings shed 3.4 percent. Taiyo Yuden Co. Shiseido Co. and NTT Data Corp. all lost more than 2 percent.

The Hang Seng Index of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange shed 301.59 points or 1.4 percent from the previous close to finish trading at 20,812.17. The day’s trading range was between a high of 21,117.58 and a low of 20,726.83.

The Korean Stock Exchange’s Kospi Index lost 37.74 points or 1.5 percent to close trading at 2,427.90. The day’s trading range was between 2,424.16 and 2,473.44.

Australia’s S&P/ASX200 Index closed trading at 7,352.20 after shedding 78.70 points or 1.1 percent amidst anxiety about inflation in the U.S. and a weak outlook by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The day’s trading was between 7,337.00 and 7,440.40.

The Star Entertainment Group was the biggest gainer with a surge of more than 14 percent. G.U.D. Holdings added 8.1 percent. Cochlear gained 7 percent after upbeat results as well as a buyback announcement. Magellan Financial Group also gained more than 7 percent. Energy business New Hope Corporation also rallied 5.9 percent.

Semiconductor business Brainchip Holdings was the greatest laggard with a 13.6 percent nosedive. Corporate Travel Management declined 8.7 percent after publication of half yearly results. Premium wine maker Treasury Wine Estates lost more than 6 percent despite a big jump in profits.

Sayona Mining also lost more than 6 percent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia declined 5.7 percent following its results announcement.

The NZX 50 Index of the New Zealand Stock Exchange added 8.65 points or 0.1 percent to close at 12,083.12. Trading ranged between 12,032.01 and 12,105.15.

Tourism Holdings topped the gainers list with a 5.1 percent surge after it raised its earnings guidance. Skycity Entertainment Group followed closely with a 4.9 percent rally. Precinct Properties NZ, Property for Industry and Goodman Property Trust all added more than 1 percent.

Agribusiness Scales Corporation dropped 5.6 percent amidst damages caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. Software business Serko also dropped more than 5 percent. Summerset Group Holdings and ANZ Group Holdings declined more than 2 percent. Restaurant Brands NZ too lost 1.7 percent.

A mixed mood had prevailed on Wall Street on Tuesday after inflation in January cooled less than expected. Annual inflation in the U.S. dropped to 6.4 percent in January versus 6.5 percent in December and expectations of 6.2 percent. Core inflation dropped to 5.6 percent in January versus 5.7 percent in December and expectations of 5.5 percent. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.6 percent to close at 11,960.15, whereas the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.5 percent to finish trading at 34,089.27.

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