Asian Stocks Sink as Fed Jitters Resurface

  • Stock Market News
Asian Stocks Sink as Fed Jitters Resurface
Credit: © Reuters.

By Ambar Warrick Asian stock markets fell on Friday as fears of a hawkish Federal Reserve grew ahead of key U.S. labor data, although most bourses were set for weekly gains as they recovered from steep losses in September.

Most regional bourses fell between 0.3% and 1.4%, with the technology-heavy Taiwan Weighted index leading losses. Tech stocks resumed their decline after hawkish signals from some Federal Reserve officials pushed up the dollar and Treasury yields.

Wall Street indexes also provided a weak lead-in for regional bourses, ending a whipsaw session lower on Thursday as rising yields weighed.

Trading volumes in Asia were muted on account of a week-long holiday in China. But most bourses in the region were set to gain this week, as they recovered from their worst monthly performance since the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was set to rise nearly 5% this week, its best weekly performance in over two years after the Reserve Bank hiked rates by less than expected, sending a dovish signal to markets.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.7% and was up 4.5% this week, as improving service sector activity and better-than-expected industrial production and retail sales data pointed to some resilience in the Japanese economy.

But a slew of headwinds, particularly from rising inflation and a weakening yen, is set to dent economic growth this year. Data on Friday showed Japanese household spending shrank in August.

India's blue-chip Nifty 50 index fell 0.4%, with sentiment toward the country worsening after the rupee hit a record low on Friday.

Asian stock markets plummeted this year as several major central banks began hiking interest rates, cutting short the loose monetary conditions enjoyed by markets over the past two years.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls data due later on Friday is expected to factor into the Fed’s plans to hike rates. Continued signs of strength in the job market are expected to give the central bank enough space to keep raising rates.

Traders are currently pricing in a nearly 73% chance that the Fed will raise rates by 75 basis points during its next meeting. The central bank has already signaled that U.S. interest rates will end the year above 4%, pointing to more pressure on risk-driven assets.

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