Asian Shares Retreat On Rate Hike Bets

Asian stocks retreated on Thursday amid persistent concerns about inflation and fears that global central banks may be forced to raise rates sooner rather than later.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 16.66 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3,520.71, as indebted China Evergrande Group and developer Country Garden Services Holdings Co. announced plans to raise funds.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 330.36 points, or 1.3 percent, to 25,319.72, as Baidu Inc. and Bilibili Inc. reported weak earnings, sparking concerns about slowing advertising revenue.

Japanese shares slipped but ended off their day’s lows after the Nikkei business daily reported about a bigger than expected economic stimulus package. The Nikkei 225 Index ended down 89.67 points, or 0.3 percent, at 29,598.66, while the broader Topix dipped 0.1 percent to settle at 2,035.52.

Cyclical shares such as shippers led losses, with Kawasaki Kisen plunging 7.2 percent and Nippon Yusen tumbling 4.4 percent. Steelmaker Nippon Steel declined 1.9 percent and JFE Holdings gave up 1.7 percent.

Oil firm Inpex plummeted 7.1 percent and Idemitsu Kosan lost 3.6 percent as oil prices slid to a six-week low on news China was moving to release some oil from its strategic reserves.

Eisai slumped 9 percent after a European Medicines Agency panel voted against approval of an Alzheimer’s drug the Japanese drugmaker developed with Biogen Inc.

Australian markets ended a choppy session slightly higher, snapping a two-day losing streak. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index edged up 9.30 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,379.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 9.20 points, or 0.1 percent, at 7,713.20.

Energy stocks ended broadly lower after oil prices fell sharply overnight. Gold miner Evolution Mining jumped 9.7 percent after it signed a pact with Swiss giant Glencore to acquire the Ernest Henry copper-gold mine northeast of Cloncurry in Queensland for $1 billion.

Medical laboratory company Sonic Healthcare rallied 3 percent after providing a healthy trading update at its annual general meeting. Crop protection provider Nufarm climbed 5.2 percent after revenue and profit surged for the year to September 30.

Seoul stocks retreated as the country reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, despite a high rate of inoculation. The Kospi slipped 15.04 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 2,947.38.

New Zealand shares fell after a Reserve Bank survey showed inflation expectations for the next two years climbed.

The benchmark NZX-50 index eased 37.07 points, or 0.3 percent, to finish at 12,800.33, with property stocks pacing the declines on concerns that higher interest rates may reduce their relative yields.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight amid inflation fears, supply chain concerns and uncertainty over early rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The Dow dropped 0.6 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 both eased around 0.3 percent.

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