Asian Shares Mostly Lower As Tech Stocks Drag

Asian Shares Mostly Lower As Tech Stocks Drag

December 8, 2023

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Friday as mixed economic signals from China pointed to feeble economic recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

The dollar slipped to snap two days of gains while Treasuries held steady as traders weighed Fed rate cut prospects.

Gold was set for a third weekly gain after declining in the previous session.
Oil prices extended losses from the previous session and were set for a sixth straight week of declines as skepticism mounted over OPEC+ output cuts.

The OPEC+ group of petroleum producing nations on Thursday agreed to voluntary output cuts totaling about 2.2 million barrels per day for early next year, following a slump in crude prices and predictions of a renewed surplus next year.

China’s Shanghai Composite index recovered from early losses to finish marginally higher at 3,031.64 after China’s Caixin Manufacturing PMI unexpectedly expanded in November and an unidentified state institution reportedly bought exchange-traded funds. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.25 percent to 16,830.30.

Japanese markets edged lower after the release of disappointing manufacturing data. The Nikkei average slipped 0.17 percent to 33,431.51 while the broader Topix index settled 0.32 percent higher at 2,382.52.

Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing both fell over 1 percent while automaker Toyota Motor rose 1.4 percent.

Seoul stocks tumbled as battery makers and technology stocks declined affected by a drop in Tesla and Nvidia shares overnight. The Kospi average fell 1.19 percent to 2,505.01.

Australian markets snapped a three-day winning streak, with weak manufacturing data and gains in bond yields denting sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.20 percent to 7,073.20, with banks and technology stocks pacing the declines. The broader All Ordinaries index ended down 0.17 percent at 7,285.10.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 index closed 0.33 percent higher at 11,367.51 after the S&P 500 notched one of its biggest November rallies on record.

Investors also reacted to improved consumer confidence data and remarks by RBNZ deputy governor Christian Hawkesby that persistently high core inflation “left little room for error” around monetary policy.

U.S. stocks ended mostly higher overnight, buoyed by signs of easing inflation and strong Q3 earnings from Salesforce.

U.S. consumer spending moderated in October, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure eased in the month and weekly jobless claims rose slightly, signaling that interest rate cuts are on the horizon.

New York Fed President John Williams said Thursday that policymakers are likely done with interest-rate hikes, but decisions will continue to be data-dependent.

The Dow jumped 1.5 percent to reach a new high for the year and the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to hit a three-month closing high, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2 percent.

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