Asian stocks are mostly lower, reflecting a slide on Wall Street amid concerns about heightened tensions in Ukraine over thousands of Russian troops massing on its border.
TOKYO (AP) - Asian stocks mostly fell on Tuesday, reflecting a slide on Wall Street amid concerns about rising tensions in Ukraine over thousands of Russian troops massing on its border.
Japanese stocks started with a bargain-hunting boost after recent losses, but buying quickly dried up. Data released on Tuesday showed the economy grew at a 5.4% annual rate from October to December as pandemic restrictions were eased for some time after infections fell sharply before recovering with omicron outbreaks.
"While Japan's outlook is being challenged by a resurgence of the virus and supply chain disruptions, fourth-quarter data has highlighted the potential for pent-up consumer demand once risks from the virus finally subside," said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG Singapore.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.2% to 27,024.54 in morning trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.5% at 7,209.10. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3% to 2,695.88. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.5% at 24,433.63, while the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3% at 3,439.84.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 4,401.67 after falling shortly after the US announced it would close its embassy in Ukraine and move all remaining employees to a city near the Polish border. to provide services until it fell to 1.2%. The move comes as diplomatic efforts continued Monday to prevent what US officials warned could be an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5% to 34,566.17 and the Nasdaq Composite ended nearly flat at 13,790.92 after rising 1% initially.
Shares of smaller companies that were poised to make a profit also fell. The Russell 2000 fell 0.5% to 2,020.79.
On Friday, the White House urged Americans to leave Ukraine within 48 hours amid fears Russia could soon invade the country. Other governments, including Russia, removed diplomats and their citizens from the country.
Wall Street is also trying to gauge how stocks and the broader economy will be affected by another source of uncertainty: how far and how quickly the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to quell rising inflation.
The central bank is expected to start raising interest rates in March and Wall Street expects as many as seven rate hikes this year after last week's report said inflation rose 7.5% year-on-year in January, the fastest rise in four decades. Prices also rose 0.6% from December to January, the same as the previous month, suggesting that gains are not yet slowing as many economists and Fed officials expected.
The Federal Reserve typically responds to high inflation by making borrowing more expensive, which slows down spending and the pace of inflation.
“The market is really paying attention to geopolitical stuff right now, whether it's Ukraine stuff or D.C. stuff. what the Fed is going to do," said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at All Star Charts. "The bigger story is inflation and interest rates. The Fed is catching up with inflation, the bond market now The Fed is being taken seriously and the question is, "How are US stocks doing in this environment?"
Nations are still seeking a diplomatic solution to the situation, and Russia's top diplomat has advised Russian President Vladimir Putin to continue dialogue with the United States and its allies.
Investors are also keeping an eye on the latest round of corporate earnings, in part to better understand how companies are coping with high inflation. Some of the more notable companies reporting earnings this week include Airbnb on Tuesday, DoorDash on Wednesday and Walmart on Thursday.
Investors will also get more updates on inflation and how it could affect spending. The Labor Department will release its January wholesale price report on Tuesday, and the Commerce Department will release its January retail sales report on Wednesday.
In energy trading, the benchmark price of US crude fell 49 cents to $94.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 2.5%, while natural gas prices rose 6.4% on Monday. Russia is a major energy producer and military action that cuts off supplies could shake markets and global industry. Brent crude, the international standard price, fell 47 cents to $96.01 a barrel.
In currency trading, the US dollar fell from 115.55 yen to 115.37 Japanese yen. The euro cost $1.1310 against $1.1306.