Asian Shares Retreat On Fed Rate Hike Worries

Asian stocks tumbled on Monday amid lingering concerns about rapid U.S. rate increases and slowing growth as Covid cases continued to spread in China.

The euro found support after Emmanuel Macron was re-elected as French President for a second term, reassuring markets about France’s commitment to an integrated Europe.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 5.1 percent to 2,928.51 amid fears coronavirus restrictions in China would extend to Beijing.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 3.7 percent to 19,869.34 on growth concerns as the lockdown of China’s commercial capital showed little signs of easing.

Shanghai officials today reported 51 COVID-related deaths for the previous day, the highest daily tally recorded in China since the initial outbreak in Wuhan two years ago.

Japanese shares fell the most in more than six weeks as investors waited to see whether the Bank of Japan will adjust monetary settings at its upcoming policy meeting. The Nikkei 225 Index slumped 1.9 percent to 26,590.78 – marking the biggest percentage decline since March 11.

Heavyweight Uniqlo clothing owner Fast Retailing tumbled 5.3 percent, and technology investor SoftBank Group plunged 7.8 percent.

Nissan Motor lost over 5 percent on a report that its top shareholder Renault SA was exploring a potential stake sale. Airline ANA Holdings declined 3.4 percent after cutting its earnings forecast.

Australia and New Zealand markets were closed for a holiday. Seoul stocks fell for a second day running and the won dipped on worries over rates and inflation. The Kospi plunged 1.8 percent to 2,657.13.

Growth-linked tech large-caps Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix dropped 1-2 percent on worries that higher borrowing costs for businesses and households, exacerbated by war in Ukraine and disruption from coronavirus-related lockdowns in China, can slow the economy.

Automaker Hyundai Motor rose 1.1 percent after reporting its largest first-quarter operating profit in nearly eight years.

U.S. stocks slumped on Friday to reach their worst levels in over a month amid renewed concerns about risks from interest rate hikes.

The Dow plummeted 2.8 percent to post its biggest single-day loss since October 2020, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 2.6 percent and the S&P 500 lost 2.8 percent.

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