Growth Worries Drag Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Thursday, following the broadly negative cues overnight from the global markets, amid renewed worries about rising inflation, slowing growth and the outlook for interest rates. The downward revisions in global growth forecasts for the current year and 2023 by the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development weighed as well. Asian Markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday.

The World Bank said while slashing its forecast for global growth that the war in Ukraine, lockdowns in China, supply-chain disruptions, and the risk of stagflation are hammering growth. It added that for many countries, recession will be hard to avoid.

Investors are looking ahead to the European Central Bank’s monetary policy announcement due on Thursday, and the crucial data on U.S. inflation due on Friday.

The Australian stock market is significantly lower on Thursday, giving up all the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,100 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from the global markets, with financial stocks extending their losses amid margin growth worries following the back-to-back cash rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 61.70 points or 0.87 percent to 7,059.40, after hitting a low of 7,024.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 67.70 points or 0.92 percent to 7,279.30. Australian stocks ended modestly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are flat, while Mineral Resources is edging down 0.5 percent and OZ Minerals is losing almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Santos is gaining more than 1 percent, while Woodside Energy and Beach energy are adding almost 2 percent each. Origin Energy is flat.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is gaining more than 1 percent and Zip is adding almost 3 percent, while WiseTech Global is edging down 0.3 percent, Appen is declining almost 5 percent and Xero is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is losing 2.5 percent, , ANZ Banking is slipping almost 3 percent and Westpac is declining more than 4 percent. Commonwealth Bank is down 3.5 percent after it slashed its growth outlook.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are edging down 0.3 percent each, while Evolution Mining is up almost 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is adding more than 1 percent. Resolute Mining is flat.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.718 on Thursday.

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous four sessions, with the Nikkei 225 just below the 28,300 level, despite the broadly negative cues overnight from the global markets, propelled by technology stocks amid a plummeting yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 28,278.45, up 44.16 points or 0.16 percent, after hitting a high of 28,322.38 and a low of 28,189.35 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.4 percent and Toyota is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is gaining more than 3 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Advantest are adding almost 3 percent each.

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

Among the major exporters, Sony is edging down 0.2 percent, Canon is losing more than 1 percent and Panasonic is declining almost 3 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among the other major losers, Sharp is plummeting more than 7 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are plunging almost 7 percent each. Pacific Metals is losing almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Yamaha is gaining almost 4 percent, while Casio Computer, Inpex and Sumitomo Chemical are adding more than 3 percent each. Mitsubishi Motors is up almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 134 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 0.7 percent each. Indonesia is bucking the trend and is up 0.8 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks drifted lower on Wednesday amid worries about soaring inflation, global economic slowdown and prospects of tighter policy measures by the central bank. Lowering of global growth forecasts by the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development weighed as well. Higher treasury yields too caused the market’s decline.

The major averages all ended notably lower. The Dow ended with a loss of 269.24 points or 0.81 percent at 32,910.90, The S&P 500 closed lower by 44.91 points or 1.08 percent at 4,115.77 and the Nasdaq ended the session with a loss of 88.96 points or 0.73 percent at 12,086.27.

The major European markets also all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slid 0.76 percent, France’s CAC 40 shed 0.8 percent, and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.08 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed higher on Wednesday, buoyed by a sharp drop in gasoline inventories in the U.S. last week, and on optimism for increased demand from China. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended higher by $2.70 or 2.3 percent at $122.11 a barrel, hitting a three-week high.

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