Asian stocks mixed after Fed gave no details on rate hike


Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday after Federal Reserve policymakers said they were leaning more toward decisive action on inflation but did not set a firm target. .

Shanghai and Seoul rose while Hong Kong fell. Tokyo pulled out after Japan’s January exports grew less than expected. Oil prices fluctuated due to worries about the possibility of Russia invading Ukraine, having dropped by more than 1 USD / barrel.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell on Wednesday after notes from the Fed’s latest meeting showed officials suggesting a faster pace of rate hikes “could be done.” can be guaranteed.”

According to IG’s Yeap Jun Rong in a report, the minutes “show a lack of clear commitments on the scale of rate hikes and balance sheet cuts”. That suggests the Fed’s attitude may be “less hawkish than previously thought.”

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 percent to 3,472.16 to 3,474.98 while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 0.4 percent to 24,618.20.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 1% to 27,190.83 after January exports rose 9.6% from a year earlier, much lower than expected.

Kospi in Seoul rose 1% to 2,755.56 after the government reported the economy added 1.1 million jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell lower.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was less than 0.1% higher at 7,323.80 while India’s Sensex opened 0.1% lower at 57,924.85. New Zealand and Singapore rose while Jakarta retreated.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,475.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 percent to 34,934.27, the Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 14,124.09.

Investors are trying to figure out how stock prices will react when the Fed withdraws stimulus measures to cool inflation, which is at a four-decade high.

According to the Fed’s notes, officials agreed at the January meeting that a faster rate hike would be needed “if inflation does not fall” as expected by the central bank’s policy-making committee.

As recently as December, Fed officials forecast inflation, at 5.8%, to fall to 2.6%.

Most analysts expect Fed officials to raise that forecast at their next meeting in March.

On Monday, James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Kansas City Fed, expressed support for a gradual approach. San Francisco Fed’s Mary Daly declined to commit to more than modest increases next month.

Rising prices have consumers worried they could pull back on spending.

Even so, the government reported on Wednesday that January retail sales rose 3.8%. Compared to the previous month’s decrease of 2.5%.

Investors are also watching for the possibility that Russia might invade Ukraine.

Markets rallied on Tuesday after Moscow said it had deployed some troops near the Ukraine border, but Western officials expressed doubts about that.

The energy market is always volatile because Russia is one of the largest oil producers. Any military action that disrupts supplies will hurt prices and global industry.

In the energy market, the price of benchmark US crude fell $1.16 to $92.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.59 to $93.66 on Wednesday. Brent crude, which is used as the price base for international oils, fell $1.03 to $93.78 a barrel in London. It rose $1.53 in the previous session to $94.81.

The dollar fell to 115.27 yen from 115.41 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.1358 from $1.1391.

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