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Asian Stocks Down, Investors Digest Japanese Inflation Data

Stock MarketsJan 20, 2022 21:18
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By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were down on Monday morning, with U.S. equivalents also on a downward trend as the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 entered a correction.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.40% by 9:04 PM ET (2:04 AM GMT), with data released earlier in the day showing that the national core consumer price index grew 0.5% year-on-year, while the national CPI grew 0.8% year-on-year, in December. The Bank of Japan also released the minutes from its most recent policy meeting.

South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.75% and in Australia, the ASX 200 rose 1.53%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was 0.33%.

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.27% while the Shenzhen Component fell 0.79%.

U.S. shares fell, with Nasdaq 100 contracts erasing a near 2% rally Thursday before ending in the red. The S&P 500 also gave up gains and is more than 5% off its January high.

Recent company earnings also did not meet expectations, dampening investor sentiment, with Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares falling in after-hours trading thanks to a disappointing subscriber outlook. Peloton Interactive Inc . (NASDAQ:PTON) shares were also on a downward trend over reported temporary production halts.

Also adding to investors’ nerves is the prospect of both U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes and the possible reduction of its $8.8 trillion balance sheet.

“A lot of people are talking about inflation and that sort of thing, but their portfolios really don’t reflect it,” Richard Bernstein Advisors LLC chief investment officer Richard Bernstein told Bloomberg.

“That’s the indecision, the uncertainty that you are seeing now.”

U.S.-Russian tensions over Ukraine continue to simmer, with Washington reportedly allowing some Baltic states to send U.S.-manufactured weapons to Ukraine.

The regulatory crackdown on Chinese tech companies is again in the spotlight, with the country pledging to limit the companies’ influence on governments. But a gauge of Chinese stocks traded in the U.S. was up, with investors betting that the recent interest rate cuts by the People’s Bank of China will give Chinese shares a boost.

Meanwhile, U.S. data released on Thursday showed that 286,000 initial jobless claims were filed throughout the week, a three-month high. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Manufacturing Index was 23.2 in January. Existing home sales were at 6.18 million, but contracted 4.6% month-on-month, in December.

Asian Stocks Down, Investors Digest Japanese Inflation Data

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