Asian Shares Mixed As Fed Comments Weigh
Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as Federal Reserve officials continued to talk up the need for further interest rate hikes ahead of the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole economic symposium in Wyoming next week.
St. Louis Fed president James Bullard said he expects a third straight 75 basis point interest rate hike in September, while San Francisco Fed colleague Mary Daly said that raising rates by 50 or 75 basis points next month would be “reasonable.”
Kansas City Fed president Esther George argued that the drop in inflation registered in July was not evidence the underlying problem was fixed.
The dollar hit a one-month high as recession clouds gather over Europe. Oil prices fell over 1 percent to trade below $90 per barrel in Asian trading, snapping a two-day rally.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.6 percent lower at 3,258.08 as concerns about the economic outlook intensified. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended marginally higher at 19,773.03 after a choppy ride.
Japanese shares ended little changed as investors booked profits after a recent rally. The Nikkei 225 Index finished marginally lower at 28,930.33, while the broader Topix edged up 0.2 percent to 1,994.52.
Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing fell 1.3 percent and pharma major Daiichi Sankyo lost 2.9 percent, while tech stocks such as Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings rose between half a percent and 1.5 percent.
Seoul stocks ended lower for a third straight session and the Korean won hit a yearly low against the dollar amid uncertainties over future U.S. rate hikes. The Kospi shed 0.6 percent to close at 2,492.69.
Australian markets gave up early gains to end on a flat note but posted their fifth consecutive weekly gain. Energy stocks surged, with Whitehaven Coal climbing 6.2 percent and New Hope Corp adding 4 percent as thermal coal prices soared on rising demand from Europe.
Gold miner Newcrest Mining rallied 3.6 percent after beating annual profit estimates.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index slumped 1.1 percent to 11,684.81. Heavyweight Fisher & Paykel Healthcare plummeted 6.2 percent after its profit guidance came in much lower than expected.
U.S. stocks struggled for direction before ending slightly higher overnight after the release of disappointing home sales data and better than expected jobless claims and manufacturing readings.
The Dow finished marginally higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 both edged up around 0.2 percent.
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