By Associated Press
Asian shares fell Thursday after a retreat on Wall Street as banks and health care companies pulled the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average back from their latest record highs.
In Seoul, the Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.34% rose 0.1%, as Samsung Electronics /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 0.00% reported its highest quarterly profit in three years thanks to continued robust demand for its computer memory chips.
Samsung’s dual strength in parts and finished products has allowed it to flourish during the pandemic as millions of people were forced to work at home. However, the company said it was dealing with “longer-than-expected” component shortages that may affect the demand for semiconductors during the current quarter.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.42% lost 0.9%. The Bank of Japan was expected to keep its monetary policy unchanged at a policy meeting that wraps up Thursday.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.06% gave up 0.3%, while the Shanghai Composite index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.18% dropped 1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +1.25% shed 0.4%. Stocks fell in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.16% , Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.20% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.02% .
Flaring cases of coronavirus in China and Singapore were adding to a general unease over the economic outlook, given signs that inflationary trends might lead central banks to move faster to tighten monetary policy.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.31% slipped 0.5% to 4,551.68. More than three fourths of the companies in the benchmark index fell, with financial, health care and industrial stocks accounting for most of the decline. Those losses offset gains from communication services stocks and a mix of companies that rely on consumer spending.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.10% lost 0.7% to 35,490.69. Both it and the S&P 500 had logged record highs the day before.
The Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.64% edged up less than 0.1% to 15,235.84.
Long-term bond yields fell significantly and weighed down banks, which rely on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.53% from 1.61% late Tuesday. It was steady at 1.55% early Thursday.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury fell below 2% for the first time in a month to 1.96%, even though rates on shorter-term U.S. bonds, like the 2-year Treasury note, have been rising.
U.S. benchmark crude lost $1.86 to $80.80 per barrel. Brent crude , the basis for international pricing, declined $2.12 to $81.75 per barrel.
In other trading, the dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1109% fell to 113.62 Japanese yen from 113.83 yen.