Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after fresh U.S. data showed inflation remained high, signaling what action the Federal Reserve will take as it holds Last meeting of the year.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.1% to 28,459.72 and the Kospi in Seoul was mostly unchanged at 2,988.71. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7% to 7,327.10.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.4% to 23,548.10, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.2% to 3,655.92. Shares fell in Singapore and India but rose in Taiwan.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell from 1.44% to 1.42% late Tuesday.
China said its retail sales slowed in November, up 3.9% from a year earlier compared with a 4.9% gain in October. Industrial production rose slightly, up 3.0%. 8% year-on-year compared with 3.5% in October.
Mark Williams and Sheana Yue of Capital Economics said in a commentary.
A second Omicron case was reported confirmed in China on Wednesday, underscoring the persistent threat from infections as new coronavirus variants emerge.
On Tuesday, the S&P 500 index fell 0.7 percent to 4,634.09. It set an all-time high on Friday, closing its biggest weekly gain since February. The index is up 23.4 percent so far this year.
The Dow fell 0.3% to 35,544.18. Nasdaq fell 1.1% to 15,237.64. The Russell 2000 rose 1% to 2,159.65.
The sale comes after the Labor Department reported that wholesale prices rose a record 9.6% in November from a year earlier. The division’s producer price index measures inflation before it reaches consumers.
Businesses have been facing supply chain issues and higher costs for months and are passing those costs on to consumers, who have so far been saddled with higher prices for their products. everything from groceries to clothing and other consumer products. On Friday, the Labor Department reported that consumer prices rose 6.8% in the 12 months ending November, the biggest increase in 39 years.
Worrying reports on inflation ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting starting on Tuesday.
The Fed is expected to accelerate the process of cutting bond purchases, which have helped keep interest rates low and support the stock market and the economy at large. Additionally, investors are keeping an eye on the central bank for any announcements on how soon the bank might raise interest rates in 2022.
Technology stocks led the market’s decline on Tuesday. Microsoft fell 3.3% and Adobe fell 6.6%, the biggest declines in the S&P 500.
Wall Street is also closely monitoring any news of the latest coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly in the UK and some other regions. It appears to cause less serious illness than previous versions of the coronavirus, according to an analysis of data from South Africa. Pfizer’s vaccine appears to offer less protection against infection from it, but still offers good protection against hospitalization.
Energy shares fell after US crude prices fell 0.8%. On Wednesday, US crude oil prices fell 90 cents to $69.83 a barrel. Brent crude, the basis for international pricing, lost 81 cents to $72.89 a barrel.
The US dollar fell from 113.73 yen to 113.71 Japanese yen. The euro rose to $1.1272 from $1.1259.