By Associated Press
TOKYO — Asian shares were mostly lower on Wednesday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as investors weighed the latest quarterly earnings reports from big U.S. companies and data pointing to rising inflation.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.54% edged down 0.3% in early trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.82% added 0.1% while South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.10% slipped 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.38% dropped 0.6%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.59% dipped 0.8%. Stocks rose in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.60% and Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.49% , but fell in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.20% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.11% .
“This backdrop of higher for longer U.S. inflation and a faster hiking Fed and strengthening USD is not a good recipe for emerging Asia,” said Robert Carnell, regional head of research Asia-Pacific at ING, referring to the U.S. currency.
Surging coronavirus cases in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are another concern, he said. South Korea also is seeing cases jump. It released data showing an improvement in the jobless rate, but the numbers were collected before pandemic restrictions were tightened.
Some parts of Japan are also seeing an uptick in COVID-19 infections, fanning fears about the tens of thousands of athletes, dignitaries and other people from some 200 nations entering the country for the Tokyo Olympics. Tokyo is reporting hundreds of new cases daily. Some experts say that could jump to thousands in coming weeks, as the “bubble” conditions for the Olympians have been compromised, with staff and athletes testing positive for the virus. The Games open on July 23.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.4%, with most of the companies in the benchmark index losing ground. Banks, industrial stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending accounted for a big share of the decline. Technology stocks bucked the trend, helping counter some of the broader slide. Small company stocks took some of the heaviest losses.
The pullback brought the major stock indexes slightly below the record highs they set a day earlier. Treasury yields rose.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.16% fell 15.42 points to 4,369.21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.18% dropped 0.3% to 34,888.79. The tech-heavy Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.13% slid 0.4%.
Bond yields slipped to 1.40% from 1.42% late Tuesday. Overall, yields have been trending lower after a sharp spike earlier in the year.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 18 cents to $75.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up $1.15 to $75.25 on Tuesday. Brent crude , the international standard, fell 12 cents to $76.37 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0893% fell to 110.53 Japanese yen from 110.61 yen.