Asian stocks fall ahead of US inflation
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks followed Wall Street lower Wednesday ahead of U.S. inflation data that traders worry will show upward pressure on prices still is too strong for the Federal Reserve to ease off interest rate hikes.
Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul declined. Oil prices edged lower.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.4% on Tuesday for its fourth daily decline following disappointing earnings reports.
Data on Wednesday are expected to show headline U.S. inflation in July eased from the previous month’s four-decade high of 9.1%. But a survey by FactSet found traders expect core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy, leaving rent and other costs, to edge higher. That is despite other data that show economic activity cooling.
Anything above 8% is “still too high” for the Fed, Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank said in a report.
“The fight to tackle inflation is far from over,” Tan said.
Investors worry efforts by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs might derail global economic growth.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell to 4,122.47 while traders waited for more evidence of how aggressively the Fed might pursue more rate hikes.
The Fed has raised rates four times this year, including twice by 0.75 percentage points, triple its usual margin. Investors expect another hike of 0.75 percentage points in September after data last week showed hiring was stronger than forecast.
Fed officials acknowledge there is a danger the U.S. economy might tip into recession, but some point to the strong job market as evidence it can tolerate more rate hikes.
The Dow slipped 0.2% to close at 32,774.41. The Nasdaq dropped 1.2% to 12,493.93. The Russell 2000 ended down 1.5%, at 1,912.89.
Chipmaker Micron Technology fell 3.7% after warning investors that revenue could fall short of forecasts because of weakening demand. That warning hit other chipmakers hard, with Nvidia shedding 4%.
Norwegian Cruise Line plunged 10.6% for the biggest drop in the S&P 500 after reporting disappointing results and a weak revenue forecast. Expedia fell 1.6% and American Airlines fell 2.7%.
Markets also have been rattled by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which caused a spike in prices of oil, wheat and other commodities, and uncertainty about Chinese anti-virus measures that disrupted manufacturing and trade.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 30 cents to $90.20 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 26 cents to $90.50 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, shed 25 cents to $96.06 per barrel in London. It declined 34 cents the previous session to $96.31.
The dollar declined to 135.02 yen from Tuesday’s 135.18 yen. The euro rose to $1.0215 from $1.0205.