Asian stocks were mixed after Wall St held steady on rate fears

Asian stocks were mixed after Wall St held steady on rate fears

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday after Wall Street steadied on worries about further U.S. interest rate hikes.

Shanghai and Seoul refused. Tokyo and Hong Kong have advanced. Oil prices have fallen.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index recovered some of the previous day’s losses after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned that rate hikes may accelerate as upward pressure on prices is stronger than expected.

Investors worry that the Fed and other central banks are increasingly looking likely to tip the global economy into at least a brief recession to extinguish stubborn inflation. US inflation rose to 5.4% in January, well above the Fed’s 2% target.

“Risks to a higher and faster growth trajectory have increased,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report. He said the Fed may be motivated by “increasing criticism” that it has “fallen behind the inflation curve.”

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% to 3,277.13 as Chinese inflation eased to 1% from a year ago in February from 2.5% the previous month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.3% to 20,110.28.

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.6% to 28,616.03 in Tokyo after the government cut its estimate of economic growth in the three months ended December to 0.1% from a previous estimate of 0.6%.

The Kospi sank 0.4% to 2,422.31 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was down 0.1% to 7,311.10.

India’s Sensex opened 0.2% lower at 60,197.90. New Zealand and Singapore decreased while Jakarta and Bangkok increased.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 3,992.01 on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 58.06, or 0.2%, to 32,798.40, while the Nasdaq Composite added 45.67, or 0.4%, to 11,576.00.

Powell said Fed policymakers want to see more data before deciding on future rate hikes.

This number was seen in a report on Wednesday job advertisement Advertising across the country exceeded expectations last month. Traders scrutinize such data for clues about wages, a factor the Fed tries to predict inflation.

The report also showed some signs of easing pressure, including fewer Americans quitting their jobs.

A separate report on Wednesday suggested that hiring by US private sector employers was still stronger than expected.

The US government’s more comprehensive monthly report on hiring will be released on Friday.

Other data showed firmer spending by U.S. consumers, another factor policymakers worry could raise prices.

Expectations for a firmer Fed have been most evident in bond markets, where yields have risen.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, or the difference between its market price and payout at maturity, ticked up from 3.97% to 3.98% late Tuesday.

The yield on the two-year Treasury rose to 5.05% from 5.02%. This is near the highest level since 2007.

Short-term Treasuries have higher yields than Treasuries that pay more in the future Wall Street sees this as a fairly reliable indicator of an impending recession.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 4 cents to $76.70 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 92 cents to $76.66 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil trade, added 4 cents to $82.70 a barrel in London. It was down 63 cents in the previous session at $82.66.

The dollar fell to 136.81 yen from 137.24 yen on Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.0554 from $1.0545.

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