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Aug. 19, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EDT

Asian markets fall after Fed minutes bring reality check

Stocks drop sharply in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul

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By Associated Press


Bloomberg News
The Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. logo is seen at the Exchange Square complex in Hong Kong.

Asian shares slipped Thursday after sobriety set in on Wall Street, and the U.S. Federal Reserve minutes laid out challenges for the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -1.52%   dropped 1% in early trading, and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -2.56%   plunged 3.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.95%   lost 1.9%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -1.47%   fell 1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.55%   fell 0.9%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.92%   and Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -1.10%   dropped sharply. Markets in Indonesia and Malaysia were closed for holidays.

“The latest Fed minutes had been one to offer a reality check for markets, though with the elevated prices, it had likely been an excuse to take some profit off the table as well,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist with IG.

“Most notably, Fed minutes from the July FOMC meeting had reflected officials’ views on the pandemic weighing heavily on the economy and posing risks to the medium-term outlook,” she said.

The central bank has been one of the main pillars propping up the market after it slashed short-term interest rates to their record low and essentially promised to buy as many bonds as it takes to keep markets running smoothly.

The Fed’s minutes of its latest policy meeting, released late Wednesday, showed policy makers are finding it difficult to forecast the path of the economy, which will depend greatly on what happens with the virus.

“In no uncertain terms, the FOMC minutes deflated the markets Federal Reserve air balloon as the minutes unequivocally temper September. So without the Fed air balloon floating markets today, stocks are temporarily succumbing to forces of gravity,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp.

The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.21%   fell 0.4% to 3,374.85, a day after it wiped out the last of its losses created by the pandemic and surpassed its Feb. 19 peak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.59%   also gave up an earlier gain, falling 0.3% to 27,692.88. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -2.45%  dropped 0.6% to 11,146.46.

The Asian region depends heavily on a healthy U.S. economy to keep its growth going. Export-dependent Japan has sunk into recession, slammed by the slowdowns in the U.S., as well as China, with production halted, tourism squelched and consumption crimped. Analysts say a recovery is likely coming for the world’s third largest economy, but also acknowledge great uncertainty, without a vaccine for COVID-19.

Investors still seem to believe the U.S. Congress and the White House will reach a deal to deliver more aid to the economy after federal unemployment benefits and other stimulus expired.

Investors around the world are also waiting for developments on the rising tensions between the United States and China. The world’s largest economies have longstanding trade issues, and President Donald Trump has recently been targeting Chinese tech companies. Also hanging over the market is the upcoming U.S. election, with the big changes in policies it can create.

Earnings reporting season for big U.S companies has nearly wrapped up, with businesses in the S&P 500 on track to report a sharp decline in their profits for the spring, but not as bad as Wall Street expected.

In the latest accolade for Big Tech, Apple’s /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -5.60%   total market value briefly topped $2 trillion, the first time a U.S. company has crossed that threshold. Technology companies, including video-game maker Nintendo Co. of Japan, are thriving as the pandemic accelerates work-from-home and other tech-friendly trends.

Benchmark U.S. crude   lost 40 cents to $42.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 4 cents to $42.93 per barrel Wednesday. Brent crude  , the international standard, fell 35 cents to $45.02 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0526%   fell to 106.06 Japanese yen from 106.13 yen on Wednesday.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
22,977.13
-354.81 -1.52%
Volume: 0.00
Oct. 30, 2020 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,267.15
-59.52 -2.56%
Volume: 795,585
Oct. 30, 2020 3:32p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
24,107.42
-479.18 -1.95%
Volume: 2.54M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:09p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
3,224.53
-48.19 -1.47%
Volume: 23.02B
Oct. 30, 2020 3:01p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
5,927.60
-32.70 -0.55%
Volume: 871,366
Oct. 30, 2020 5:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed
TW : Taiwan Stock Exchange
12,546.34
-116.57 -0.92%
Volume: 0.00
Oct. 30, 2020 1:33p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed
SG : Singapore: SGX
2,423.84
-26.84 -1.10%
Volume: 0.00
Oct. 30, 2020 5:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,269.96
-40.15 -1.21%
Volume: 3.01B
Oct. 30, 2020 5:18p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
26,501.60
-157.51 -0.59%
Volume: 506.32M
Oct. 30, 2020 5:18p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
10,911.59
-274.00 -2.45%
Volume: 3.18M
Oct. 30, 2020 5:16p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 108.86
-6.46 -5.60%
Volume: 190.57M
Oct. 30, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
33.10
Dividend Yield
0.75%
Market Cap
$1999.34 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.98M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
104.6710
+0.0550 +0.0526%
Volume: 0.0000
Oct. 30, 2020 4:59p
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