Asian stocks sink before packed week; Nikkei hit by pre-BOJ jitters

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks sink before packed week; Nikkei hit by pre-BOJ jitters
Credit: © Reuters. Most Asian stocks fell on Monday as investors hunkered down for a data-heavy week headlined by the Federal Reserve, while uncertainty before a Bank of Japan meeting weighed heavily on the Nikkei. 

Markets are awaiting interest rate decisions from the Bank of Japan , the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England , as well as key economic readings from China and the U.S. Major third-quarter earnings, particularly from iPhone maker Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ), are also on tap this week. 

Risk appetite remained frail as Israel launched a large-scale ground assault on Gaza over the weekend, drawing ire from a string of Arab states. But there appeared to be no broader spillover in the Middle Eastern conflict.

Sentiment was also battered by Wall Street indexes entering correction territory last week, although futures rose in evening trade on Sunday. 

Japan’s Nikkei lags as traders eye BOJ shift 

The Nikkei 225 sank 1.2% on Monday, and was the worst performer in Asia as traders hunkered down before a Bank of Japan meeting on Tuesday. 

Weakness in technology stocks also weighed on the Nikkei. 

The BOJ is widely expected to keep interest rates at negative levels. But media reports suggested that a potential shift in the bank’s yield curve control policy was on tap, especially given recent increases in inflation and weakness in the yen . Japanese government bond yields have also risen significantly, testing the BOJ’s target range. 

Any hawkish moves by the BOJ herald an end to the nearly decade’s worth of easy monetary policy enjoyed by Japanese stocks, and are likely to sap investor appetite for the market. 

A dovish BOJ was one of the biggest drivers of a Japanese stock rally this year, as interest rates rose sharply across the globe.

Broader Asian markets retreated on Monday, remaining largely on guard before a Fed meeting on Wednesday. While the Fed is expected to keep rates on hold, officials have still signaled higher for longer rates , amid a resurgence in U.S. inflation.

Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.5% as a bigger-than-expected jump in retail sales pushed up bets that the Reserve Bank will have more headroom to hike interest rates when it meets next week . Monday’s reading also presented more upside to inflation. 

China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.3%, while the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 was flat as markets awaited key purchasing managers index data from the country, due on Tuesday. The reading is expected to show some improvement in Chinese business activity through October, amid some signs of stability in Asia’s biggest economy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.3%, with tech stocks coming under pressure before the Fed. A recent spike in U.S. Treasury yields had greatly battered global tech stocks over the past week.

But those markets saw some bargain buying on Monday. South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.4% after a 2.7% tumble last week, while futures for India’s Nifty 50 rose 0.4%, after the index sank 1.4% in the past week. 

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